Crews battle power line, coal seam wildfires in Routt County
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Downed power lines sparked a small wildfire Monday evening off Seedhouse Road in North Routt County.
The fire burned about an acre of bushes and dried grass and was caused by a tree that fell on a power line, according to North Routt Fire Protection District Chief Mike Swinsick.
The North Routt crew will continue to watch the burn area in the coming days.
“We’re keeping an eye on it. We’re patrolling it,” Swinsick said. “We found a couple of hot spots today that I mitigated.”
Swinsick said four of his volunteer firefighters, neighbors and a nearby U.S. Forest Service crew helped fight the fire.
“They were at Steamboat Lake when we got called out, so they were able to respond and give us a hand,” Swinsick said.
North Routt firefighters also have been helping out West Routt Fire Protection District with a coal seam fire along Routt County Road 56.
West Routt crews classified the surface fire as out Tuesday morning, but it likely will continue to burn underground.
“The surface — brush and grass — was on fire, and that’s what we put out,” West Routt Chief Dal Leck said. “The coal seam is going to continue to burn. You could put a lot of money and resources into that, and it might never go out.”
Leck said the fire is close to the Deep Creek burn scar, where a coal seam fire also was discovered in September 2017. He is unsure whether the fires are related.
“We’ve got word out with (Colorado) Environmental Health about it, and we’re just trying to figure out what to do with it,” he said. “If it continues, it could be a problem.”
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