Prescribed rural fire flares out of control

A controlled burn got away from the landowner at 10:30 a.m. Sunday along I Road east of 25 Road, threatening a home and another building. Members of the Grand Junction Fire Department and the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department’s wildlands fire team were called to put out the blaze. No structures were lost.

A brush fire that burned out of control Sunday morning caused an estimated $2,000 in damage.

At 10:30 a.m., Grand Junction firefighters were dispatched to a brush fire at 2520 I Road. The fire was extinguished within 28 minutes of fire personnel arriving at the address. A total of 17 fire and law officials responded.

Some fencing and approximately two acres of land were burned in the fire. Two structures that had been threatened by the flames did not burn and no one was injured, according to a press release from the Fire Department.

The fire started as a prescribed burn that got out of control, according to the Fire Department.

Grand Junction residents are allowed to burn weeds, garden waste, irrigation ditches and tree or shrub trimmings less than an inch in diameter from March 1 through May 31 in the city (and again between Sept. 1 and Oct. 31) as long as the person doing the burning has a burn permit.

Sunday morning’s fire was one of a handful of reports of controlled burns possibly getting out of control throughout the day.

The Fire Department cautions that while burning is permitted at this time, conditions are still dry and hazardous. Even though Grand Junction received 0.11 inch of precipitation Thursday, according to the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, the city still is 0.3 inch behind average local precipitation accumulation in the first 24 days of March at 0.35 inch.

Grand Junction has received 1.35 inches of precipitation so far in 2013, as measured at Grand Junction Regional Airport. That’s 0.42 inch behind normal precipitation accumulation in the first 83 days of the average year in Grand Junction, according to the National Weather Service.

The city of Grand Junction’s open burn permit brochure includes a list of safety requirements for permit-holders, including:

■ Putting at least 50 feet between the burn and any structure or fence

■ Having a person constantly watch and control the fire

■ Keeping fire extinguishing equipment, such as water, sand and dirt, near the fire.

Anyone who violates open burn regulations can receive a fine up to $1,000 and/or jail time, according to the brochure, and may be liable for the cost of damage caused by the fire and the cost required for the Fire Department to put out the fire.


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