Fire west of Steamboat off Klein Road burns estimated 20 acres Monday |

Fire west of Steamboat off Klein Road burns estimated 20 acres Monday

Equipment used by ranchers to hay a field just off of Klein Road west of Steamboat Springs apparently sparked a 20-acre grass fire Monday afternoon.

“When I first got here it was burning in the field on the other side of the fence where they had been bailing hay,” Steamboat Fire Rescue Chief Mel Stewart said. “The wind was blowing maybe five to 10 miles an hour and was pretty steady. It was carrying pretty quickly into the sage brush where we saw a lot of flames leap.”

A crew of about 10 firefighters supported by an engine, tender, brush truck and command vehicle quickly evaluated the conditions and decided to attack the fire on the west side to keep it from threatening homes on the other side of the ridge.

“Once the wind stopped blowing, the fire stopped moving so fast,” Stewart said. “Two separate crews worked on the nose of the fire and then we will start moving back putting it out from this end.”

Stewart said Steamboat got help from Oak Creek, West Routt and North Routt to put the blaze out. The plan was to get the fire contained as quickly as possible and send crews back Tuesday morning to check on hot spots.

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“There were no structures involved, and it was really burning in the sage brush,” Stewart said. “The guys who own the property have already gotten their hay out and didn’t feel like it was that big a deal.”

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.