Faux pas on the Fourth
A Fourth of July reveler was summoned Monday not long after allegedly starting a fireworks-related blaze that burned acreage belonging to the chief of the Burning Mountains Fire Protection District.Sgt. Jim Schuckers, of the Garfield County Sheriff’s Department, said probably less than 3 acres burned after a man threw fireworks out the window of a passing vehicle on Divide Creek Road, or County Road 311, near its northern end at County Road 335.The fire burned land owned by fire chief Brit McLin, whose home is on County Road 335.Schuckers said the suspect’s name wasn’t available Monday evening. The man was summoned for reckless endangerment and released.He was contacted and cited by sheriff deputies after they were alerted by Silt police. Schuckers said the man admitted to starting the fire, and it appeared to have resulted from carelessness rather than being intentional.Schuckers said the fire probably started around 6:30 p.m. Crews from Burning Mountains Fire Protection District and the Upper Colorado Interagency Fire Management Center responded, and protected a storage building near the wildfire. That building is on property owned by Bob Regulski, near McLin’s property line.Schuckers said crews appeared to have controlled the fire. While it had threatened to travel in the direction of homes, winds were fairly light.The fire sped up a hillside on the east side of the road when it first was ignited, however.”I was changing my tire in my garage and my wife came yelling, ‘Look at the fire,'” said Jeff Simonson, who lives on the west side of Divide Creek Road, and a little northwest of the fire site. “It took about five minutes to reach the top of the hill.”Fortunately for Simonson, the fire was traveling away from his house, and both the road and his lawn acted as firebreaks. He said firefighters also responded quickly to the blaze.Roy McPherson’s home is directly across the road from the fire, but also was upwind of it. He was in a hayfield when he first saw it.”I thought my house was on fire,” he said.Instead, he realized it was burning on the fire chief’s land.”Fire doesn’t respect anybody,” McPherson said.Little more an hour after the fire’s start, McPherson and his family were able to watch with little concern from their front porch as crews continued to soak charred trees and grass on the slope just across the road. A green lawn also protects their home.McLin was one of those who helped fight the fire. He wasn’t available for comment Monday.Schuckers said it’s possible the man summoned in the case could be billed for the cost of fighting the fire and for any damages.Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. email@example.com
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