Heated car part sparks fire near Oxford

Thursday, July 12, 2018 10:09 PM
A heated car part sparked a fire Thursday on Colorado Highway 172 near Oxford. A man from the Lucky 7 Ranch stopped with a fire extinguisher and shovels to slow the blaze until fire crews arrived.

A truck driver may have stopped a roadside fire from growing into something more serious Thursday near Oxford.

Using a fire extinguisher and a shovel from his truck, Jeremy Cochran, with Lucky 7 Ranch, was able to slow down the blaze until firefighters arrived. A few other drivers provided assistance.

“The fire danger is still high,” Cochran said.

The fire burned about half to three-quarters of an acre, said Tom Aurnhammer, chief of the Los Pinos Fire Protection District.

A nearby car that malfunctioned had a hot piece of equipment fall off that started the blaze, he said.

Grass in the area is extremely dry, although the relative humidity has been coming up, which kept the fire from spreading faster.

“We still need to be really, really careful,” Aurnhammer said.

County fire chiefs recommended downgrading Stage 3 fire restrictions to Stage 1 this week, but La Plata County commissioners decided to take a more cautious approach by going with Stage 2 restrictions, based in large part on public input.

“That was a good move,” Aurnhammer said.

If more rain arrives this week, which is in the forecast, a reduction to Stage 1 restrictions could occur next week, he added.

The fire started near mile marker 16 on Colorado Highway 172.

“We didn’t want another big fire on our hands,” Cochran said of his decision to stop and fight the fire.