Lightning sets off Carbondale-area fires |

Lightning sets off Carbondale-area fires

John StroudCarbondale CorrespondentGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Valley Journal/John Stroud

CARBONDALE An intense lightning storm set off two wildfires near Carbondale Thursday evening, but a quick response and a little help from Mother Nature kept things in check.The first fire began at 4:33 p.m. in the Panorama subdivision on Missouri Heights, east of County Road 100 where five structures were threatened, according to Carbondale & Rural Fire Protection District Assistant Fire Chief Carl Smith.The Carbondale Fire Districts initial attack team was already in the vicinity, and arrived on scene within five minutes, Smith said.With the extreme fire danger, district officials decided July 1 to have firefighters out on patrol between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. daily. We made the decision then that the conditions were pretty extreme, and we needed to upgrade our resources, Smith said.In addition to the initial attack team, the district responded with six engines and 18 personnel. Help was also called in from the Basalt & Rural Fire Protection District, which sent three engines and 10 personnel.The quick response limited the fire to less than an acre, and no structures were damaged.The second lightning-caused fire started about 5:14 p.m. in the Prince Creek Subdivision about two miles south of Carbondale, where another six structures were immediately threatened, Smith said. Carbondale and Basalt fire departments immediately deployed six engines to that fire, while the Upper Colorado River Interagency had one engine and the Glenwood Springs Fire Department was on stand-by with two engines to cover any additional calls.Pitkin County Dispatch performed a Reverse 911 to residents in the area to alert them to evacuate.Smith said residents complied without any problems.I think people over the years have become very attuned to wildland fires, and know they need to leave, he said.The fire burned four acres before a heavy rainstorm lasting into the evening helped douse the blaze.The rain helped out tremendously on the Prince Creek fire, but it barely sprinkled in Missouri Heights. The two initial attack teams were right on that one, and got it knocked down pretty fast, Smith said.The Prince Creek fire was under control by a little after 7 p.m. and residents were allowed to return.Crews left the Panorama fire at about 7:20 p.m., while mop up crews were expected to be at Prince Creek until about 10 p.m.Fire officials were planning to keep their guard up through the night and into Friday as well.We put an engine up in the CMC area (Spring Valley) and another on Missouri Heights, Smith said. Were concerned about tomorrow, too, because we might have some more fires pop up from this storm after it warms up again.

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