I-70 now open in both directions at Dotsero after one-mile median fire
UPDATE 5:40 p.m. Friday, July 20: Interstate 70 reopened after one-mile median fire
DOTSERO — A wildfire in the median along Interstate 70 at Dotsero Friday afternoon closed the highway to traffic in both directions for more than two hours.
“We suspect it was something off a vehicle traveling along the interstate that sparked the fire,” said Gypsum Fire Department Chief Justin Kirkland. “There was actually six separate fires that all grew together.”
Kirkland said crews were dispatched to the scene at 3:12 p.m. on a report of fire coming off a recreational vehicle. “But we never found an RV fire,” said Kirkland. What crews did find was a wildfire in the median that was fueled by dry conditions and high winds.
The fire stretched approximately a mile long, but it was largely contained to the median. One side fire on the north side of I-70 burned approximately 1/10th of an acre. All told, Kirkland estimated the fire burned around 1 and 1/2 acres.
“Our fire danger is extreme right now. It allowed this fire to grow very fast. Thankfully it was mostly contained to the median,” said Kirkland. “It doesn’t take much of anything to start a wildfire right now and that’s why we are in Stage II fire restrictions.”
Eventually four Gypsum fire trucks were called into service along with crews from Greater Eagle Fire Department. Kirkland said personnel from the U.S. Forest Service, the Colorado Department of Transportation, the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office and the Colorado State Patrol aided with the firefighting effort.
Westbound I-70 was closed at the Gypsum exit and diverted to U.S. Highway 6. Eastbound traffic was closed at the Dotsero exit and also diverted to US6. All lanes of I-70 were reopened by 5:40 p.m.
The valley’s commercial and residential property markets are similar in some ways — availability is tight and nothing is what you’d call “cheap.”