Two controlled burns got out of control on Tuesday, but were extinguished by Cortez Fire Protection District crews.
About 4 p.m., shifting winds that came suddenly out of the north caused a controlled burn on U.S. Highway 491 north of Cortez to run in the wrong direction.
The brush fire burned about 1 acre, said Jay Balfour, Cortez Fire Protection District chief. The owner properly notified dispatch in advance of the planned burn as required, he said. No structures were lost.
Then about 5:15 p.m., a burn pile behind the Tomahawk Lodge on South Broadway in Cortez ignited some tall grass and quickly spread into a vacant field along the Hawkins Preserve Trail.
The fire spread to about a half-acre and initially generated 15-foot flames in tall grass, Balfour said. The fire was near homes and the motel, but no structures were damaged.
The property owner had a permit from the city of Cortez to burn the pile of yard trimmings, Balfour said.
Fire crews controlled the fire in 20 minutes,and stopped it from jumping the trail to another field of dry tall grass and nearby homes. It burned about a half-acre.
“This is a good time to remind the public to mow tall weeds and grass around your property,” Balfour said.
Also, always make sure to clear away vegetation from the perimeter of a burn pile before it is lit, he said.
Balfour thanked the Cortez Police Department for the wisely directing fire crews to access the fast moving blaze from the paved Hawkins Preserve Trail behind the motel.
Six firefighters fought the blaze, and two brush trucks and an engine were on scene. A fire hydrant at the end of Jordan Place provided the water.