A welder cutting chain started a fire that grew to 1 acre before being doused by some 40 firefighters Sunday afternoon on County Road 509, south of Bayfield.
Upper Pine River Fire Protection District Chief Bruce Evans said the welder depleted an extinguisher in an effort to contain the blaze before the arrival of firefighters, which were accompanied by 15 different units.
A water pipe and an irrigation pipe were damaged, but no one was hurt.
A field flanking the fire, which started about 1 p.m., was flooded with irrigation water to help contain the blaze, Evans said in a Facebook post about the fire.
Although Stage 1 fire restrictions are in place in La Plata County, Evans said welding is allowed. Welding would be banned if the county moves to Stage 2 fire restrictions, he said.
Evans said Upper Pine Fire responded to several field fires this weekend that grew quickly given the dry conditions.
Durango and Bayfield were just outside an area of Southwest Colorado that was under a red flag warning for critical fire conditions that favor the rapid spread of fire given the relative lack of humidity, gusty winds and high temperatures. The red flag warning is in effect until 9 p.m. Monday.
Upper Pine River Fire Protection District was assisted by Los Pinos Fire Protection District and firefighters from the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
“Fuels are ready to go. As you can see, a spark is all it takes, and its off to the races,” Evans said.