Metal-cutting spark ignites 2.5-acre Basalt brush fire |

Metal-cutting spark ignites 2.5-acre Basalt brush fire

A “simple spark” from a metal-cutting operation led to a 2.5-acre brush fire Tuesday afternoon a short distance upvalley from the Aspen-Basalt Mobile Home Park off East Willits Lane, according to Chief Scott Thompson, of the Basalt & Rural Fire Protection District.A bike-path bridge was damaged slightly, but the 1:15 p.m. fire mostly burned grass along with juniper and pinyon trees, he said. Fifteen Basalt firefighters contained the fire and put out the hot spots with assistance from six U.S. Forest Service firefighters. “This is an indication of just how dry our fuels are,” Thompson said.A red-flag alert was issued by Pitkin County emergency officials shortly after noon Tuesday to warn of extreme fire conditions. High winds, low humidity and dry natural fuels spurred the alert.During the Basalt brush fire, the intersection at East Willits Lane and Highway 82 was closed for nearly two hours, officials said. Near the intersection, one of two eastbound lanes of Highway 82 was closed for more than an hour due to heavy smoke, Thompson added.

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