Wildfire erupts near Basalt | VailDaily.com

Wildfire erupts near Basalt

BASALT, Colorado ” A wild fire erupted on the outskirts of Basalt Friday afternoon snarling traffic on Fryingpan Road and spurring a precautionary evacuation of a handful of homes.

The fire started 1 mile up Fryingpan Road at about 2:15 p.m. and raced uphill through dead grass, dry sage brush and pinon and juniper trees. No homes or other structures were immediately threatened.

The wind-whipped flames quickly charred about 2 acres but it’s potential to spread onto the lower slopes of Basalt Mountain above Cedar Drive had firefighters concerned.

“We’re worried about it running up the draw and jumping the road,” said Bob Guion, a captain with Basalt Fire Department.

He was part of a team stationed on the gravel portion Cedar Drive, outside of town limits, that attacked the flames from above. Other Basalt firefighters hiked uphill from Fryingpan Road and used shovels, picks and water hoses to battle hot spots.

Guion said firefighters were using a strategy called flank and pinch, with the idea of reducing the width of the fire by attacking from its flanks. He said three engines and crews from the federal interagency firefighting department were expected to join the effort and that a helicopter might drop water on the site.

Traffic on Fryingpan Road above the fire site was stopped and traffic approaching the site from Basalt was diverted onto Sopris Drive. Officials were trying to reopen one lane at 4:45 p.m.

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