Paradox fire human-caused
A wildfire that has torched more than 6,000 acres and cost more than $2.4 million in western Montrose County was caused by human activity, an official said Thursday.
“We don’t know exactly how and it isn’t easy to determine in cases like this,” said David Eaker, spokesman for the Great Basin Incident Management Team.
A probe led by Bureau of Land Management fire investigators determined the cause of the Sunrise Mine Fire was inconclusive, BLM spokeswoman Shannon Borders said.
Bureau of Land Management officials said they were able to determine that lightning was not a factor based on weather reports in the area.
Eaker said they know the point of origin was roughly four miles southwest of Paradox.
“Unless there’s really obvious evidence, such as an incendiary device, gas can or other telltale markers, a cause is difficult to determine in situations like this,” Eaker said.
The fire through Thursday night had burned approximately 6,192 acres near the Colorado-Utah state line.
The fire was described as 85 percent contained, while firefighters expect full containment by Sunday.
“We’re making very good progress,” Eaker said.
As of Thursday night, 619 fire personnel, including 10 engines and six helicopters, were still committed to fighting the blaze, according to the Rocky Basin 2 Management Team.
Progress made over recent days, along with favorable weather forecasts, mean resources will be scaled back, Eaker said.
“You’ll probably see those numbers (personnel) cut by a third to half by tomorrow,” he said.
The fire has burned since May 25.
Closures remain effective for Carpenter Ridge in Colorado and Utah, Sinbad Ridge in Colorado and Utah, Buckeye Basin including the Buckeye Campground, and all Manti-La Sal National Forest Service lands in Colorado north of Willow Basin Creek.