Fire danger still high | VailDaily.com

Fire danger still high

Veronica Whitney

When Singletree resident Don Cohen looked out of his window Sunday and saw a small fire burning close to his house, he was struck by the speed it was moving.”The sage would explode in flames,” Cohen said. “What is worrisome is that even though it has been a wet summer, it was surprising how quickly the sage and grass burned.”It’s raining almost every day in the valley, but the fire danger is still high, local fire officials say.Last Sunday, firefighters put out a one-acre grass fire in Singletree -next to Cohen’s home- that was caused by fireworks.

“Unfortunately, there are many people in our county who think our recent rains have been enough to decrease the possibility of wildland fires,” said Kathy Warren of the Eagle River Fire Protection District. “We would like to remind residents as well as visitors that Eagle County is still under county-wide fire restrictions.” The fire restrictions, placed in June by Eagle County Sheriff Joe Hoy, ban the use of explosive devices requiring fuses, private fireworks, certain open solid fuel fires and charcoal fueled barbecues not on private property. “The humidity has been relatively high and it’s raining, but the winds blow everything away,” Warren said. On Sunday, two teenagers playing with fireworks apparently started a fire in a dry, grassy, deep ravine between the Sonnenalp golf course and Singletree Road. Eleven firefighters from the Eagle River Fire Protection District put out the fire. It caused no injuries. The fire is still under investigation by Eagle River Fire and the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office. Residents in the area spotted the five-foot tall flames and attempted to put them out without success, Warren said. When firefighters arrived the fire had already reached the pavement on Singletree Road.

“No structures were immediately threatened, but if the fire had moved across the road, it would have quickly burned up dry steep terrain toward homes, two of which are under construction,” said Eagle River Fire Protection District Fire Marshall Carol Gill-Mulson. Sunday’s relative high humidity prevented the fire of spreading more, Warren added. “Fires burn uphill rapidly,” Warren said. Fire restriction

The fire restrictions in place since June in Eagle County ban the use of explosive devices requiring fuses, private fireworks, certain open solid fuel fires and charcoal fueled barbecues not on private property. People who disregard the law and the fire conditions or are negligent in the maintenance of their fire, will be held responsible for the cost of suppression efforts.Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454 or at vwhitney@vaildaily.com.