Wildfire burns 50 acres in Dry Park
Post Independent Staff
DRY PARK- A wildfire that started in a hayfield spread to 50 acres Tuesday afternoon. By evening, 26 firefighters were working the blaze, four homes were evacuated and a Forest Service helicopter and hand crew were on their way.
The Carbondale and Rural Fire Protection District received a smoke report about 4 p.m. Tuesday and found one acre of the hayfield on fire.
The cause of the fire hasn’t been determined.
The field is east of Dry Park Road and south of Glenwood Springs. It was formerly the John Martin ranch, now part of the Crystal River Ranch of Carbondale.
By 5 p.m., the fire had burned 10 to 15 acres near the road, estimated Carbondale deputy fire chief Rob Goodwin, who was managing the firefighting efforts.
Gusting winds blew the fire in every direction at times, spreading it to the north, south, and east.
By 5:15 p.m., the fire spread across the hayfield and up a brush-covered hill to the east.
“There’s no end in sight right now,” Goodwin said.
Crews used water trucks, a bulldozer, a backhoe and Pulaskis to battle the blaze. Firefighters sprayed water directly on the flames, while those with hand tools worked on hot spots along the flank.
At about 5:30 the fire reached the top of the hill and stopped spreading east. A shift in the wind, in addition to bulldozed fire lines, helped smother the north end of the fire.
Firefighters shifted their efforts to the south end of the fire.
“If the wind would stay down, we’d get a handle on it,” said Glenwood Springs fire chief Mike Piper after he took command. With maps, the fire commanders figured out the fire was actually burning in the Glenwood Springs Rural Fire Protection District.
By 6:30 p.m. a U.S. Forest Service-contracted single engine tanker, capable of carrying 750 gallons, had arrived and was making practice passes at the fire.
The tanker made about four fire retardent drops along the south side of the fire.
By 7 p.m. about 40 firefighters had arrived from the Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, Burning Mountains, Aspen, Basalt, and Snowmass fire protection districts, said Piper.
By 7:30 p.m. the fire was about 25 percent contained and had burned 50 acres, according to Jenny Cutright of the Carbondale Fire Protection District.
Four homes were evacuated along Four Mile Road, but no structures were threatened at press time.
Contact Ryan Graff: 945-8515, ext. 535
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