UPDATE: Residents safe to return home after 5-acre fire in West Glenwood Springs

Smoke rises from hot spots as firefighters work to mop up the blaze that led to the evacuation of many West Glenwood residents Saturday. Evacuation orders were lifted early Saturday evening.
Peter Baumann/Post Independen

Evacuation orders were lifted early Saturday evening after a quick response from firefighters helped prevent a five-acre blaze from destroying any homes in the West Glenwood area. No injuries were reported.

Evacuation orders were sent out to residents in the northern portion of the West Glenwood neighborhood shortly after the fire was first reported around 1:30 p.m. Saturday. Numerous agencies helped in evacuations and firefighting efforts, including Colorado River Valley Fire Rescue, Carbondale Rural and Fire Protection District, Glenwood Fire Department, Glenwood Police, Colorado State Patrol, Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, Glenwood Electric and the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management Unit.

The fire, which was first noticed by neighbors living on Mountain Shadow Drive behind the Glenwood Springs Mall, quickly began to spread.

Carbondale Rural and Fire Protection District Division Public Information Officer Jenny Cutright, who was one of the first to report the fire, was praised for her predated actions. Residing on Mountain Shadow Drive, Cutright’s backyard features a firebreak to keep flames from getting too close from her house. Cutright said the firebreak helped keep the blaze from crossing her property line, potentially mitigating the fire. But the most important element to stopping the blaze was the rapid response from her fellow first responders, Cutright said.

“The entire Mountain Shadow Drive neighborhood is grateful for calling the Glenwood Springs Fire Department and their quick response today,” Cutright said.

Upon arrival, firefighters discovered an active blaze covering an acre of land, accompanied by heavy smoke, a Glenwood Fire news release states.

The fire was being pushed toward the east by strong westerly winds. Firefighters swiftly identified structures at risk and collaborated with the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office to address evacuation concerns, all while actively fighting the fire, the release states.

“Thanks to the efforts of the Garfield County Sheriff, threatened structures were safely evacuated,” the release states.

Securing the fire line closest to the residential area was a priority for the firefighters. Their successful efforts in doing so allowed for the lifting of evacuation orders before Saturday evening.

The current size of the fire is approximately 4. 5 acres, Glenwood Fire reported early Sunday morning. The fire was monitored throughout the Saturday night and mop-up operations continued into Sunday.

“Quick action from initial attack and mutual aid resources were paramount in the suppression of this fire,” Incident Commander Jesse Hood said in the release. “The utilization of air resources gave command insight into fire behavior and helicopter bucket drops cooled hot spots so ground crews could access and extinguish as the terrain was steep.”

In response to the incident, a total of five engines, one water tender, one command vehicle, two investigation vehicles, a Chinook helicopter, a multi-mission aircraft, air attack and two ambulances, along with over 30 firefighters, were deployed.

“The water supply for the Chinook helicopter was provided by Storm King Ranch,” the release states. “The Glenwood Springs Fire Department is immensely grateful for the response from these partner agencies.”

The cause of the fire remains investigation.

A firefighter wearing a red helmet can be seen just to the left of flames as they work to mop up the fire in West Glenwood on Saturday. The blaze prompted evacuation orders for area residents but people were able to return to their homes by early Saturday evening. Peter Baumann/Post Independent

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