Dotsero crater fire likely human-caused |

Dotsero crater fire likely human-caused

Cliff Thompson

A fire likely started by humans was contained Sunday within the Dotsero volcanic crater, where it started, fire officials said Monday.

Up to 10 acres burned Sunday afternoon just north of the Interstate 70, said Eric Rebitzke of the joint U.S. Forest Service-Bureau of Land Management Interagency Fire Office. Twenty firefighters from a variety of agencies monitored the fire.

“It was just west of last year’s fire,” Rebitzke said. “It was pretty likely human-caused because there was no lightning and there are no power lines down there.”

He said the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

The fire started at the bottom of the steep crater and burned sagebrush. Rebitzke said it wasn’t able to escape the crater, which is rimmed by a bare earthen cliff band.

Fire crews monitored the blaze from the top of the crater and didn’t descend into it because the slope was too steep and the footing dodgy.

“The footing is terrible on those steep slopes,” he said. “That lava sand is really slick.”

The fire is contained, meaning crews have fire lines around it. They continued to pour water on hot spots Monday as hot blustery winds and low humidity kept fire danger high throughout the area.

This fire is northwest of the 1,236-acre fire that erupted last July. Nearly 60 firefighters aided by helicopters and airplanes that dropped fire retardant battled that blaze.

The Dotsero Volcano last erupted 4,000 years ago and left behind a small crater immediately north of the Dotsero mobile home park.

Cliff Thompson can be reached via e-mail at or by calling 949-0555, ext. 450.

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