River area brush fire contained

A brush fire burns near Watson Island.

Smoke blanketed downtown Monday from a small fire that burned brush and a few cottonwood trees along the Colorado River behind the Western Colorado Botanical Gardens.

The fire, which started just before 2 p.m., burned about five acres but never threatened any structures.

Grand Junction Fire Department spokesman Mike Page said its cause was under investigation and may take some time to determine.

“There are about 100 ways it could have started,” Page said. “It’s a pretty public area.”

Gusting winds threatened to turn the blaze into a much larger fire, but they calmed down long enough for the 10 firefighters on the scene to get it under control.

Page said two fire engines, a water tender and a brush truck were all that were needed to bring it under control, which took several hours.

The fire began near one of several public walkways that line the river behind the gardens. Page said several fires have burned in area during the past decade, which had reduced the fuel for the fire to burn Monday.

Fire officials and police said there was no obvious evidence that anyone was camping in the area, nor were there reports of anyone fleeing the blaze after it began.


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