Firefighters respond to small brush fire, highlighting dry conditions

Wednesday, March 7, 2018 7:03 PM

Firefighters responded to a brush fire Wednesday south of Durango that, while small in size, demonstrates the heightened fire danger that has persisted through the winter months across Southwest Colorado.

The grass and sage fire was reported about 4 p.m. near Weaselskin Bridge on La Posta Road (County Road 213). It was only about 10 feet by 10 feet in size, and firefighters had no problem dousing the flames.

“We are in no way out of dry, warm fire conditions in this area,” said Scot Davis, spokesman with the Durango Fire Protection District. “Even though we’ve received what feels like consistent moisture over the last few weeks, it’s been light and it’s certainly not enough to make up for the current deficit.”

Landowners need to be careful with controlled burns, he said.

A resident doing a controlled burn last weekend accidentally started a 6- to 10-acre wildfire along Colorado Highway 172, east of Durango, Davis said.

“In a normal year, you wouldn’t have had any trouble, but without the moisture and the snow on the ground, things got ripping,” Davis said.

Residents should also take advantage of the warm and dry weather to do fire mitigation, he said.

Firefighters are unsure how Wednesday’s fire started.

Firefighters responded to a larger brush fire about 11:15 a.m. Wednesday east of Cortez in Montezuma County. A homeowner was burning a pile of brush, and wind caused the embers to spread.

The fire created a large plume of smoke before firefighters were able to contain it about 20 minutes after it was reported. The Journal contributed to this story.