Wildfire erupts south of Eagle | VailDaily.com

Wildfire erupts south of Eagle

Cliff Thompson

Recent rains, humid conditions and light winds favored firefighting efforts, as the fire has remained on the ground, making it easier to fight.

The Lettuce Patch Fire, named for a nearby park, erupted about seven miles south of Eagle and about two miles from the Bruce Creek Road. It burned about quarter of an acre before firefighters arrived. A slurry bomber from Grand Junction dropped retardant to slow the fire, and a helicopter was shuttling crews to the scene as evening fell.

It’s the second fire in that area this summer. Three weeks ago, lightning sparked an 8-acre fire on Porphyry Mountain, a mile and a half from Fulford and about three miles from Tuesday’s fire. That Porphyry Mountain fire proved stubborn, taking four days to contain because it was in steep terrain with heavy downed spruce and fir timber. Conditions then were critical because humidity was very low and a strong wind was fanning the fire.

Wildfire danger continues to be rated extreme in most areas as the driest conditions in more than a century continue.

Wildfires nationally already this early in the fire season have consumed 2.3 million acres, well ahead of the annual average of 920,000 acres.

The weather outlook for the next week calls for more scattered thundershowers, said Gary Chancy of the National Weather Service in Grand Junction.

“There’s not going to be a lot of change. We’ve got an area of high pressure centered over Colorado and Utah and some residual moisture trapped that’s just rotating around and around,” he said. “There’s no monsoon yet.”

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