Brake fire closes Interstate 70 at East Vail, burns landscaping material Monday morning, Sept. 17 |

Brake fire closes Interstate 70 at East Vail, burns landscaping material Monday morning, Sept. 17

Overheated brakes set fire to a load of hydro mulch early Monday morning, closing westbound Interstate 70 near East Vail. The call came in at 3:11 a.m., and Vail fire crews were on the scene four minutes later.
Vail Fire Department

VAIL — A tractor-trailer’s hot brakes set fire to a load of landscaping material, closing Interstate 70 for more than two hours early Monday, Sept. 17.

Motorists called 911 at 3:11 a.m. Monday, reporting a westbound tractor-trailer on fire in East Vail, according to police.

The first Vail fire crew was on the scene less than four minutes later.

The rig was hauling hydro mulch, green material that landscaping crews spray on hillsides to seed the areas. As the truck reached the bottom of Vail Pass near East Vail, the truck’s brakes started to burn, which set fire to the trailer and its contents, said Vail Fire Department Capt. Jake Savona.

The hydro mulch the trailer was carrying was packed in small square bales. The bales in some of the trailer burned, but Vail firefighters were on the fire so quickly they were able to douse the blaze before all of the bales were destroyed, according to the report.

The highway was closed at 3:15 a.m., when the first Vail fire engine arrived. The left lane of westbound I-70 was re-opened at 5:45 a.m.

Crews continued their cleanup through Monday morning.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and

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