Helicopters working on Middle Fork Fire help Steamboat crews put out sudden wildfire near US 40 (with video)
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Aerial resources assigned to the ongoing Middle Fork Fire north of Steamboat Springs helped fire crews contain a two-acre fire that was burning Monday night near U.S. Highway 40.
Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue Chief Chuck Cerasoli said Tuesday the department is still investigating the cause of the fire, which was initially reported by several passersby near mile marker 1 on Routt County Road 44.
Two Type-1 helicopters and a small single-engine plane — being used to aid crews battling the Middle Fork Fire — flying over the wildfire were contacted for assistance by Incident Commander Captain Travis Wilkinson.
Wilkinson coordinated with federal resources for about six water drops over the brush fire until ground crews could respond, according to officials.
Firefighters contained the fire and extinguished all flames Monday night but are still working on digging out burning roots, Cerasoli said.
“This had the potential to become a significant incident really quickly,” Cerasoli said. “We were fortunate that air resources were in the right place at the right time, and the joint attack was able to extinguish the fire before it grew into something major.”
The fire was about a mile from the highway and near a home, according to Cerasoli, though crews ultimately contained the fire before it reached any structures.
Cerasoli advised Routt County residents to be careful about “anything that can cause a spark,” such as chains on asphalt.
“If it has the potential to make a spark, it has the potential to start a fire,” he said.
Deputies with the Routt County Sheriff’s Office were also on scene. Routt County remains under Stage 2 fire restrictions.
To reach Alison Berg, call 970-871-4229 or email aberg@SteamboatPilot.com.
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