Fire 75 percent contained |

Fire 75 percent contained

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – The fire that caused the evacuation of seven homes and several businesses in south Glenwood Springs Tuesday was 75 percent contained by Wednesday afternoon, said Glenwood Springs fire chief Mike Piper.

The fire started about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday behind Gart Brothers Sporting Goods store in the Roaring Fork Market Place. It spread quickly to the south and burned 10 to 15 acres.

Seven houses were threatened and 20 people were evacuated Tuesday on the fire’s south end. All of the houses were saved, but one shed did burn in the fire.

“It got pretty damn close,” said Buzz Pich, a local machinist who was evacuated from his home on the east side of Highway 82.

“They did their job quite well,” he said of the firefighters. “Otherwise, we’d have been in trouble.”

His neighbor, Lonnie Woods, was also evacuated.

“It was exciting enough,” said Woods. “I’m glad to see it didn’t get out of hand.”

Firefighters from Basalt, Aspen, Carbondale, and Glenwood Springs helped mop up on Wednesday. A 20-person hand crew from the Rifle Correctional Facility also put out remaining hotspots on the hillside behind the Market Place.

“It’s a rookie 20-man crew that is going to be a valuable asset,” said Piper, adding that firefighting was a good use of their skills.

The crew was supervised by a U.S. Bureau of Land Management fireboss and was on its first deployment.

Firefighters had not confirmed what sparked the fire, but Piper said investigators felt it was human caused.

He said there were cigarette butts on the ground near where the fire started and noted that transients frequented the area.

He said it was unlikely that authorities would find who started the fire.

Piper said the fire was “just a reminder of how extremely dry it is.”

Contact Ryan Graff: 945-8515, ext. 535

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