Forest Service holds Homestake Fire to 1/3 of an acre near Red Cliff | VailDaily.com

Forest Service holds Homestake Fire to 1/3 of an acre near Red Cliff

RED CLIFF — A small wildland fire is still small, the Forest Service says.

The Homestake Fire was being held to one-third of an acre Thursday afternoon, Sept. 13, said Rick Truex, acting district ranger for the Holy Cross Ranger District of the White River National Forest.

A Forest Service helicopter continued dropping water on the fire throughout Thursday, Truex said. The helicopter is a Type 1 tanked-Chinook aircraft with a three-person engine crew.

The fire flared up mid-afternoon Wednesday, Sept.12. It was reported at 2:30 p.m., and crews responded just 15 minutes later, the Forest Service said. A Forest Service helicopter was dispatched from Rifle almost immediately and began dousing the fire with water, Truex said.

It is burning 3 miles south-southwest of Red Cliff and 1.6 mile west of U.S. Highway 24 in the Holy Cross Wilderness of the White River National Forest. The fire is located in remote terrain and is burning in a mixed conifer forest.

The plume of smoke is visible from the surrounding area. There is no need to call 911 to report smoke. Authorities are aware and on the scene, Truex said.

Recommended Stories For You

"We are currently using a confine/contain suppression strategy by dropping water to slow the fire growth in the Holy Cross Wilderness area," Truex said. "Providing for firefighter and public safety is our No. 1 priority."

So far, the Homestake Fire does not threaten the wilderness, Red Cliff or any of the water sources in the Upper Girard Creek area where it is located, Truex said.

The cause of the blaze remains unknown and under investigation, Truex said.

No drones, please

A drone was spotted in the area Wednesday, Sept. 12. The public is reminded never to fly drones, or "unmanned aircraft systems," over or near wildfires, Truex said.

A temporary flight restriction is in place around the fire to allow air operations to proceed safely. Drones pose a serious risk to firefighting and can cause aircraft to be grounded.

Though fire restrictions were lifted, it is a good reminder for the public to help prevent starting human-caused wildfires that can take additional fire personnel and resources by avoiding behaviors that are known to be high risk, specifically smoking and campfires, Truex said.

For more information on the reduced forest closure area, visit the Eagle-Holy Cross Ranger District website, or call the Eagle-Holy Cross Ranger Station at 970-827-5160.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.