Lightning suspected in mesa fire

Flames rise over a ridge line on the west side of Grand Mesa on Sunday afternoon. The fire started on private land east of Kannah Creek Road about 15 miles east of Whitewater. It spread to land owned by the city of Grand Junction and the U.S. Forest Service.

Lightning is likely what started a fire that spread to about 30 acres by 6 p.m. Sunday 40 miles southeast of Grand Junction on Grand Mesa.

The fire was spotted at 1 p.m. Sunday on private land east of Kannah Creek Road and about 15 miles east of Whitewater.

The fire spread onto U.S. Forest Service and city of Grand Junction-owned land, according to Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management spokesman David Boyd.

The fire had consumed tough-to-reach terrain and was expected to continue to burn brush and juniper overnight and into today.

No structures were threatened by the fire, Boyd said, which gave the responding agencies time to consider strategy.

“It gives you the option to monitor the fire” instead of actively fighting to put it out, Boyd said.

Firefighters decided to suppress the part of the fire on city land and closely monitor, but not try to put out the fire on Forest Service land.

That would “allow the fire to do its natural thing there and burn some vegetation,” Boyd said.

Four engines and about 100 firefighters responded to the fire.

Two of the engines were from the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management group, and one engine apiece came from the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department and the Grand Junction Fire Department, according to Boyd.

No lightning actually has struck the area for days, but Boyd said it’s possible for lightning to start a fire days after it hits an area.


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