Thursday, July 28, 2016

Crews still mopping up Gibbler Gulch fire

Gibbler Gulch fire burned
about 25 acres next to Hwy 141
MESA COUNTY, Colo - The Gibbler Gulch fire is now contained at about 25 acres, but it will be at least another day before fire crews are finished mopping up.

Today Mesa County Sheriff's Office Wildland Team along with crews from Bureau of Land Management, and Lands End Fire Protection District are working the fire. They are looking for hot spots, and taking care of any smoldering trees so they won't flare up again if winds pick up.

MCSO Wildland Team members
mopping up Gibbler Gulch fire
The wildland fire is located south of Whitewater off of Highway 141.

It was reported around 3:45 Wednesday afternoon by a resident across the street who happened to be outside.

MCSO Wildland Team members
chopping down a tree still on fire
The early reporting helped get resources in the area to this fire quickly, but dry fuels spread the fire rapidly.

Several power poles were burned, knocking out power to homes in the area.

Fighting the fire from the air and the ground, crews were able to stop the fire from jumping Highway 141 and reaching neighboring homes.
Burned power pole
Gibbler Gulch fire

In this case geography helped firefighters. On the southern end, a rock face helped slow down the progress of the fire and targeted water drops were able to put it out.

At the height of the wildland fire, several agencies were involved in the response: Mesa County Sheriff's Office Wildland Team, Bureau of Land Management, Lands End Fire Protection District, U.S. Forest Service, and the Rifle Helitack crew.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Rifle Helitack helicopter lands after
making water drops

This is a good example of why Mesa County and BLM are under Stage I Fire Restrictions.

With as dry as the vegetation is, it doesn't take much for a small spark to turn into large wildland fire.

Stage I Fire Restrictions Prohibited Activities:

  • Open burning of any kind. 
  • Personal use of fireworks. 
  • Explosive Targets
  • On Public Lands, building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire or campfire except within a developed recreation site, or improved site. 
  • On Public Lands smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.
  • On Public Lands operating or using any internal or external combustion engine without a spark-arresting device properly installed, maintained, and in effective working order meeting either the USDA Forest Service Standard.