Duck Pond Fire still under investigation

Fire was human caused, but that’s all we know

The April 16 Duck Pond fire near Gypsum started small, but evacuation orders were issued for town neighborhoods about 90 minutes after this photo was taken.
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The April 16 Duck Pond fire just west of Gypsum was human-caused, but remains under investigation.

Eric Coulter, a public affairs officer for the Bureau of Land Management, wrote in a Friday email that the federal agency is leading the investigation into the roughly 100-acre fire, in coordination with Eagle County officials.

“Since it is an ongoing investigation, details will not be available until the investigation is complete,” Coulter wrote.

The fire sparked about 3 p.m. on April 16 about a mile west of Gypsum. The fire started on the south side of the Eagle River, which forced a Gypsum Fire Protection District crew to hike into the site. High winds, which kept air crews grounded, spread quickly. The fire consumed a number of large cottonwood trees, and burned much of the Bureau of Land Management campground just west of the neighborhood on York View Drive.

The fire by about 4:40 p.m. caused officials to issue evacuation orders for neighborhoods on the west end of town and along the river. The last of those orders were rescinded at about 6 p.m. April 17.

Residents and pets were evacuated to the Eagle River Center at the Eagle County Fairgrounds.

After the fire, the Bureau of Land Management on April 29 closed the entire burn area although the recreation path adjacent to U.S. Highway 6 remains open. The closure was issued due to the danger of burned trees falling without warning. Federal land managers are mitigating hazard trees and monitoring conditions in the area.

The fire “went the way nobody expected it to,” Eagle County Sheriff James van Beek said. Sheriffs are county fire wardens throughout the state.

“Nobody did anything wrong, … but it’s a good thing we train for the worst,” van Beek said.

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