A family that lives north of the Ute Mountain Casino in Towaoc was ordered to evacuate Saturday afternoon after a brush fire quickly spread near U.S. Highway 160 and County Road A.
And on Monday, Montezuma County enacted a fire ban effective April 16.
The Cortez Fire Protection District was called to the scene about 4 p.m. The Ute Mountain Ute and Lewis-Arriola fire departments also responded.
Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office deputies blocked the highway in both directions near the 100 block as smoke blew across the road. The highway reopened by 6:45 p.m., according to Montezuma County Sheriff Steve Nowlin.
At 5 p.m., a text from the Nixle alert system warned residents to stay away from U.S. 160 south of Cortez. The alert later clarified that the evacuation order was for blocks 0 through 1000.
At 6:45 p.m., Nowlin reported from an incident command center at U.S. 160 and County Road A that the fire had been contained to about 15 acres, and that firefighters were setting backfires to keep it contained. Responders continued to monitor the fire amid gusty winds.
No injuries or damaged structures were reported, though smoke approached farm buildings south of Towaoc.
Nowlin said it wasn’t clear what started the fire. The Bureau of Indian Affairs was investigating.
Also on Saturday, Assistant Chief Shawn Bittle of the Cortez Fire Protection District and sheriff’s Sgt. Brad Ray revived a woman who suffered a cardiac arrest on U.S. 160 near the fire.
According to Bittle, he was driving to the scene of the fire about 4:20 p.m. when he spotted people outside a white pickup parked along the highway.
He stopped, determined that the woman was under cardiac arrest and administered CPR. Sgt. Brad Ray then responded to the scene and revived the woman with a defibrillator.
She was taken to Southwest Memorial Hospital.