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Fireworks likely caused Edwards fire

Steve Lynn
Vail, CO Colorado
Steve Lynn/Vail DailyFirefighters worked Wednesday afternoon with pickaxes, shovels and a hose to prevent new fires from starting on hillside above Singletree.
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EDWARDS ” Ron Braden thinks people should be more responsible and avoid lighting fireworks during a fire ban.

“I don’t think people realize how dry it is up here,” said Braden, whose Edwards home was near the fire that an official said burned 12 acres above Singletree Tuesday night.

Fireworks were found on the scene of the fire next to Berry Creek Road, in the White River National Forest, said Ayasha Eddins, incident commander for the U.S. Forest Service.

There was a “very good possibility” those fireworks caused the fire, said Eddins, who declined to reveal details about where the fire originated.

Residents like Braden who own homes near fire were frustrated that someone could have started the blaze with fireworks.

“One little screw-up and they could ruin somebody’s whole life,” Dan Bailey said.

Fireworks are nothing new on the federal lands, residents said.

Todd Williams called police a couple weeks ago when he heard fireworks outside his home and his neighbor Bill Anderson found hundreds of firecrackers along Berry Creek road after the fire.

Anderson was not worried that the fire would burn his home and appreciated those who fought it, he said.

“I have a lot of faith in the fire department,” Anderson said. “We appreciate the people who went up and fought the fire.”

Williams worried when he heard about the fire, he said. The fire was the closest one to his house since he moved there in 2001, he said.

“We were out to dinner and a friend called us and said there was a fire ‘by the house,'” Williams said. “We said, ‘How close is “By the house?'”

Firefighters were working with a hose, pickaxes and shovels to prevent new fires from starting Wednesday afternoon.

Those firefighters would leave the area before nightfall Wednesday, Eddins said.

“We’re pretty sure it’s not going anywhere,” Eddins said.

Authorities did not have any suspects in the fire, said Lee Ann Loupe, spokeswoman for federal Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management. Fireworks are illegal on federal lands at all times, Loupe said.

During the fire, flames reached 20 feet, but the fire did not spread because of a lack of wind despite some 20-mile-per-hour gusts, said Chief Charlie Moore of the Eagle River Fire Protection District.

Firefighters fought the fire with water and slurry bombers.

“We had a really good handle on it and fortunately, we had an access road right to it ” so more driving rather than hiking,” Moore said.

The fire burned sage brush, grass, pinon and juniper, Loupe said.

Sagebrush can produce flames as high as a three-story building, Moore said.

“As a fuel, it’s one of the worst,” Moore said.

About 20 firefighters with four trucks battled the fire, which was reported at 5:58 p.m. By 9 p.m., local firefighters had been released from the scene.

Staff Writer Steve Lynn can be reached at 748-2931 or slynn@vaildaily.com.


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