Fire official says Saturday wildland blaze in Gypsum was sparked by lightning

Eugene Buchanan
For Vail Daily
A wildland fire burning near Spring Creek south of Gypsum was put down quickly on Saturday.
Gypsum Fire Protection District/Courtesy photo

A wildland fire burning on Bureau of Land Management land south of Gypsum was put down quickly on Saturday, June 25 after smoke became visible from the town of Gypsum.

The blaze was likely caused by a lightning strike in the Hardscrabble area near Spring Creek.

“The whole operation took less than 3 hours,” said Eric Anson with the Gypsum Fire Protection District.

Anson wasn’t himself among the responders but said it was only a couple of trees burning, and they could have been burning for quite some time.

“The thing with those lightning strikes, when we have a storm come through, it can sit there and chug in a tree for a few days and then the wind will just pick up enough and get it going, and then you’ll start to see smoke,” Anson said.

Monsoon moisture has kept fire danger down in the Summit County area this year as the warmest months of summer approach. While the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests instituted Stage 1 fire restrictions on Friday, no such restrictions have yet been issued in the White River National Forest.

“Local conditions are definitely better this year than in years past,” Anson said. “I think we had a little better snowpack, and we had some really well-timed rain, so we’re not seeing the really extreme fire conditions that we’ve seen in years past.

However, “that can all change in a month,” Anson added. “It’s all weather dependent.”

Monsoon moisture is expected to continue to fuel daily showers and thunderstorms with varying coverage through the end of the week, the National Weather Service’s Denver/Boulder office reported on Sunday, with less showers on Monday and Tuesday and heavier rainfall expected to start on Wednesday.

Heading into the busy Independence Day weekend, “A return back to less active weather is possible on Saturday,” the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports.

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