A fire sparked by an ember from a burn barrel torched about an acre of property Thursday in southwestern La Plata County, a reminder for residents to take care with embers and controlled burns, said Fort Lewis Mesa Fire Chief John Lee.
Firefighters responded around 4:30 p.m. to a report of a fire in the lower 100 block of County Road 130, near Kline, Lee said in an interview Friday. The fire was reported soon after it started; residents maintaining the burn barrel checked the fire soon after they started it and noticed an ember had blown out the top and burned nearby vegetation, Lee said.
“It was called very early, that was a good thing,” he said. “It was the best of a bad situation there.”
Dry conditions persist in Southwest Colorado with regional snowpack tracking below average for about a month, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. La Plata County is split between moderate and severe drought with drier conditions existing in the southwestern corner of the county, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Lee encouraged residents to put ashes from a fireplace into a metal bucket before disposing them and asked anyone who starts a burn barrel to check it often.
“We’ve got really dry fuels right now,” he said.