A wildfire broke out Wednesday north of Towaoc on the Ute Mountain Ute reservation.
The fire burned at the base of Ute Mountain and was brought under control around 5:30 p.m., said Ute Mountain Emergency Manager John Trocheck.
“It was pretty bad, the winds were swirling, but it’s under control now,” he said. “The Ute Mountain fire department had a good first response, and there was fast cooperation from area fire agencies.”
There were no injuries and no structures were lost, Trocheck said. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Emergency calls went out around 2:30 p.m. about smoke north of town. The fire spread rapidly in dry grass, brush and piñon-juniper trees on a flat area.
Several planes and helicopters responded to fight the fire and could be seen repeatedly dropping slurry and water. Fire crews were on the ground, with some being dropped off by helicopter, according to a witness. A jet air-tanker dropped 3,000 gallons of fire retardant on the fire from an altitude of 200 feet.
A large plume of smoke was visible from Towaoc and Cortez. The fire was ¼ mile from the nearest home, the witness said.
Multiple agencies responded, including Ute Mountain Fire, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Cortez Fire Protection District, Lewis-Arriola Fire Department, Mesa Verde National Park, and San Juan National Forest.