Officials: Routt County wildfires highlight persistent dryness |

Officials: Routt County wildfires highlight persistent dryness

Steamboat Today

— Northwest Colorado Fire Management Unit officials warn that two wildfires in Routt County this week highlight the persistent dry conditions that have kept the area's fire risk unusually high for this time of year.

Area fire departments put out a 40-acre wildfire near Sleeping Giant on Monday that began as an agriculture burn before getting out of control because of strong winds and dry vegetation. On Tuesday, South Routt firefighters extinguished a small wildfire that temporarily shut down Colorado Highway 131 between Phippsburg and Yampa.

"We are urging everyone to remain aware of the danger and use common sense with fire," Dave Toelle, assistant fire management officer for the Northwest Colorado Interagency Fire Management Unit in Craig, said in a news release. "Don't burn fields or leaves on windy days, for instance, and make sure your campfire is completely out before you leave camp."

Any agricultural burns should follow the local county or fire protection district requirements for permits or notification, according to the release. Toelle also cautioned that strong winds are forecast for Thursday and Friday in advance of a cold front moving into the region this weekend.