AVON — Firefighters quickly contained a wildfire that broke out near homes Friday in Wildridge.
At about 4:45 p.m. Friday, the Eagle River Fire Protection District was dispatched to a report of a wildland fire in Avon located at the 2500 block of Old Trail Road in the Wildridge. Callers to 911 said the fire was growing and moving quickly towards homes.
Crews arrived to find homeowners evacuating and some attempting to fight the fire. Initial reports from the incident commander stated that a fast-moving fire was in a steep drainage, burning grass and sage, and threatening homes. Fire crews initiated a direct attack on the fire while simultaneously setting up to defend the endangered homes.
The fire was contained quickly by hand lines from brush trucks that were able to drive into the drainage and flank the fire. Several other fire engines were positioned to protect homes in the event the fire escaped the control lines.
The incident commander, Eagle River Fire District battalion chief Michael Warmuth, praised the quick reacting citizens who called 911 early and provided good information that “allowed us to bring the right resources to this fire early.”
“We had some defendable space around the homes based on the lawns with mowed grasses close to the homes which is one of the most important factors for home survivability in the event of a wild land fire,” Warmuth said.
In total, 27 firefighters from the Eagle River Fire Protection District, Vail Fire & Emergency Services, Greater Eagle Fire Protection District and the Gypsum Fire Protection District responded. Fire agencies throughout the county respond as a Wild Fire Task Force. The Wild Fire Task Force is a part of an automatic aid agreement between fire agencies to ensure a rapid response during the initial stages of a fire.
The fire was declared out by 7 p.m., and the cause was under investigation.
Fire officials reminded homeowners that despite a wet spring, fire danger will remain high. They recommend that homeowners:
• Use rated roofing material and replace shake-shingle roofs with non-combustible ones.
• Use non-combustible materials for decks, siding and roofs, especially in homes are upslope from heavy vegetation.
• Maintain defensible space around their property, thinning trees and vegetation.
• Create an evacuation plan.
For more information on how to protect your home and family during a wildfire and on local fire department response, citizens are encouraged to attend one of the following Ready, Set, Go wildfire preparedness programs:
• Gypsum: May 22.
• Edwards (Espanol): May 30.
• Eagle-Vail : June 5.
• Rock Creek: June 23.
• Vail: June 26.
Additional information for times and locations is available at readysetgoec.org. Other resources are www.firewise.org, www.eaglecounty.us, and www.ECAlert.org.