Crews battle Hogback fire that erupted on Monday
Firefighters from multiple agencies were working into the night Monday to control a fire that broke out on the Grand Hogback east of New Castle, on the south side of Interstate 70.
The fire started on the side of Garfield County Road 335 around 4:30 p.m. Monday, and quickly burned up the steep slope.
The nearby River View Apartments were not threatened, but residents in the Riverbend Subdivision at the far east end of the county road were put on standby in case evacuations were necessary.
As of late Monday, the fire had burned about 30 acres and had pretty much topped out at the ridge.
Colorado River Fire Rescue spokeswoman Maria Pina said the fire started at the side of the road, but that an official cause had not been determined.
Xcel Energy did cut power to the vicinity as a precaution for a period of time, and some power poles had burned in the fire, Pina said.
“The fire is on private land, but threatens both state and BLM lands,” the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
Ground crews included firefighters from CRFR, the Glenwood Springs Fire Department and the Utah-based Lone Peak Hotshots, which was diverted to the New Castle fire en route to another of the many wildfires burning in the region.
As of about 6 p.m. Monday, two helicopters, three air tankers and a scout plane were also deployed to the fire. Helicopters were pulling water from a nearby private containment pond and the Colorado River to douse the fire, Pina said.
Anyone not living in the area or involved with the firefighting efforts was asked to stay off Road 335 and the surrounding roads to allow emergency personnel adequate access to the fire area.
Safety concerns also arose as several motorists were stopped along I-70 watching the fire. Pina said motorists were being advised not to stop on the interstate.
Fire officials did not have an estimate on containment of the fire as of press time, but the blaze appeared to be under control late in the evening.
With hot and dry conditions and the potential for afternoon winds forecast for today, firefighters were planning to keep a close eye on the fire through the Fourth of July holiday.
A cluster of mumps cases has infected Arapahoe Basin Ski area employees and people associated with them. The first case of mumps was reported back in April, while the other five cases were confirmed in the last few weeks.