Fire one mile north of Hartsel

A grass fire that eventually covered eight acres, approximately one mile north of the town of Hartsel, broke out on the windy evening of April 25. Wind shifted away from town, but fueled the fire. Cattle, buffalo and people stayed close to the edge of town while Hartsel Fire Protection District firefighters, along with the mutual aid help from the North West Fire Protection District, put the fire out, thanks to the help of 20 firefighters and eight trucks. (Photo courtesy of Charlie Buehler)

“We got the 911 call at 6:18 p.m. to what ended up being an eight-acre grass fire,” Hartsel Protection District Fire Chief Chris Tingle said.

“The fire was on the land owned by the Elk Mountain Cattle Company, the Downare’s land,” Tingle said.

The fire was out by noon the next day.

“The cause of the fire has not been determined,” Tingle added.

The HFPD chief cautions that even though land may be wet, and the land near this recent fire was still muddy, fires can still start.

“Eight trucks with 20 firefighters from Hartsel and the North West Fire Protection District responded to the fire. The HFPD auxiliary was also there,” Tingle said

Additionally, the Southern Park County Fire Protection District based in Guffy was standing by if needed.

The shifting wind was a negative factor in putting this fire to rest.

Evacuations were not called for even though this fire was close to the homes and businesses in the town of Hartsel.

When a fire breaks out, residents should receive Code Red telephone calls or text messages with fire updates and any instructions.

Log onto the Park County website, www.parkco.org, and click on the Code Red link if you have not already signed up for this free service.

“Cigarette butts, hot brakes, the exhaust on vehicles in tall grass, and shooting can start wildfires,” Tingle said.

Vehicles that have chains dragging, for example when they are pulling a trailer, can cause sparks on a highway.

Other causes of fires that the HFPD has seen through the years include; target shooting, using bullets with copper jackets, shooting at targets that explode and unattended campfires.

Prevention

In addition to not engaging in activities that can cause fires, Chief Tingle recommends having “defensible space” around your home.

Tingle explained that keeping a 30-foot space clear from junk and flammable items around your property is helpful. Examples of a potentially dangerous situation are a woodpile on a deck or overgrown trees.

The HFPD under the leadership of Chief Tingle is working on evacuation routes and check-in points in case of fire. Tingle is collaborating with the Platte Canyon Fire Protection District to review their model, as they have an evacuation plan already.

The Ranch of the Rockies, which is the largest subdivision in the HPFD service area, has already begun work with the HFPD district on evacuation plans.

Coming soon

Chief Tingle said there is a new burn permit process for campfires that has been presented to the Park County Board of Commissioners.

The HFPD also has a new lighted sign on their building that will have updated fire information and announcements.

Contact your local fire district if you are interested in volunteering. Volunteers are always needed.

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