Wildland fire chars 3 acres near Gypsum Sunday
Cause has yet to be determined, but fire originated from Interstate 70
A brush fire just south of Interstate 70 between Eagle and Gypsum burned 3 acres and closed eastbound lanes of the highway for nearly 90 minutes Sunday.
According to Gypsum Fire Chief Justin Kirkland, several motorists called 911 to report the blaze shortly after 3:30 p.m. July 25. The fire sparked at mile marker 142.5, in the vicinity of the Strawberry Fields Ranch located south of I-70. The exact cause of the fire has not been determined.
“It appears to have started off the interstate,” Kirkland said. “We suspect something was dragging.”
He noted that the smoke plume from the fire was visible from Eagle when firefighters arrived on scene. Firefighting crews closed I-70 because of visibility concerns.
“When you have something like that happen on the interstate, it is very dangerous,” Kirkland noted. “Plus, we didn’t know if the fire would jump I-70.”
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After firefighters successfully attacked the flames and the smoke dissipated, the westbound lanes of I-70 reopened. Because of the fire’s proximity to the highway, the eastbound lanes remained closed for a longer period and traffic was directed to U.S. Highway 6 between Eagle and Gypsum.
Kirkland noted that the fire threatened barns, horse shelters and residences in the area, but crews successfully defended all the structures.
Crews from Gypsum Fire Department, Greater Eagle Fire, Eagle River Fire, Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, Colorado State Patrol, Colorado Department of Transportation and the Vail Dispatch Center responded to the call.
Kirkland said the fire was knocked down Sunday, but Gypsum Fire crews returned to the site Monday to thoroughly survey the scene for hot spots.
“Crews were out there all morning to continue to work the fire, and it is all extinguished,” Kirkland said.