Lightning strike burns near Silt homes |

Lightning strike burns near Silt homes

Lightning from Saturday night’s storm started a fire near a neighborhood between Silt and New Castle north of Coal Ridge High School.The Slaughter Gulch Fire is burning on BLM land near homes on Cedar Hills Drive. Stephanie Brown, Grand Junction Air Center manager, said the fire is 10-15 acres but was quieted down by Saturday night’s rains.Cedar Hills Drive resident Larry Rose said the fire was “really bad at first” but, at 9:30 p.m. after the rains, “It’s smoldering. I can hardly see any smoke at all.” Brown said firefighters are still in initial attack mode, and the fire is not contained or controlled. Three homes were evacuated, and three other homes voluntarily evacuated, Brown said. Rose said last night that he was on standby for evacuation.There were 43 firefighters on site Saturday, including a type 1 Hotshot crew, three engines, and a helicopter form the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management Unit.Lee Rickard, fire management officer at the Interagency Fire Center at the Garfield County Airport, said the Slaughter Gulch Fire is now a higher priority than the Jolley Fire, southwest of New Castle. The Jolley Fire is not threatening any structures, and there is no danger to the public, according to a press release from incident commander Dan Yturriondobeicia.Rickard said the Jolley Fire was 185 acres Saturday night, and was 90 percent contained. “The fire is looking really good,” he said, and he expects full containment before noon today.Rickard said that under a unified command, 140 firefighters fought the fire Saturday, including members of Burning Mountains Fire Protection District, Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management Unit, Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, the Juniper Valley crew from the Rifle Correctional Facility, and the Pike Hotshots. There were six aircraft on the fire, including three air tankers, one lead plane, one air attack, and one helicopter.

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