Quick response douses lightning strikes in Glenwood Springs area
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – A lightning storm that passed through the area Monday afternoon set off several small fires along the Interstate 70 corridor, including two on BLM land above Glenwood Springs that were quickly extinguished.
“The storm rolled through around 2 o’clock, and we started getting calls for multiple lightning strikes and fires shortly after that,” Glenwood Springs Fire Capt. Doug Gerrald said.
“The largest of the fires, and the one threatening the most homes, was in West Glenwood,” he said of the first of two fires, which ignited about a half mile up the hillside toward the Flat Tops.
Another small smoke plume was also highly visible from the south end of Glenwood, burning in a gully on the hillside above Valley View Hospital.
“Through the combined efforts of Glenwood Springs Fire and the Upper Colorado Interagency Fire Management Center, we quickly got both of these fires under control,” Gerrald said.
The electrical storm touched off several fires between Grand Junction and Eagle, all on public lands, according to a Bureau of Land Management press release issued late Monday afternoon.
All of the fires were reported to be about 1/10 of an acre in size, and no structures were immediately threatened.
Five separate fires in the Glenwood Springs area, including the two most visible from town, were responded to by several smoke jumpers, several engines, air attack and a Type I helicopter-tanker out of Grand Junction.
The Glenwood Springs Fire Department also deployed resources to assist in the fire-fighting effort.
“Folks are still going to see some smoke, especially from the West Glenwood fire, while we have resources on the scene working to fully extinguish those fires,” Gerrald said.
“Through combined efforts and training we had over the winter, this is why this came together so effectively,” he said.
According to the BLM release, fire resources, including air attack, also responded to a fire at Bellyache, located southeast of Eagle, while ground units responded to a fire on the north flank of the Grand Mesa.
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A report released this month by the Center for Colorado River Studies says that in order to sustainably manage the river in the face of climate change, officials need alternative management paradigms and a different way of thinking compared with the status quo. Estimates about how much water the Upper Colorado River Basin states will use in the future are a problem that needs rethinking, according to the white paper.