Network camera crews from Denver and reporters form area newspapers were at the Black Bear Hole parking lot Friday (March 11) morning for a press conference by Longmont officials for a briefing concerning a wild fire near the Button Rock Reservoir. Photo by Joseph Lekarczyk
Town staff and elected officials awoke early Friday (March 11) morning to discover the network television stations were reporting a “wildfire in Lyons!” It turned out the fire is actually located several miles west of Lyons, in the vicinity of the northern shore of Button Rock Reservoir. While the situation has the potential, because of the
extremely high winds, to get out of control, as of a 9 a.m. press conference held in Lyons, Longmont Police and Fire officials say that crews are on the scene, and are trying hard to keep the fire contained in its present location.
That location was described by Longmont Police Commander Jeffrey Satur as, “approximately 1.2 acres in a small bowl-like valley surrounded by rock out-croppings.” Satur went on to say that residents east of the fire had been “advised” of the fire, but that “no mandatory evacuation order had been given.” Satur also noted that earlier in the week, crews from the Longmont Fire Department had been conducting controlled “slash pile” burns as a part of their regular wild land fire mitigation efforts. According to Satur, “the last of the approximately 50 slash piles had been ignited on Tuesday (March 8).” When firefighters who had been keeping an eye on the burns were notified that high winds were forecasted for later in the week, the crews began putting out the fires and monitoring the piles. Apparently the high winds early Friday morning rekindled the embers in one of the piles. The first report of the fire, by crews on the scene, came in at about 4:45 a.m.
A smoke plume rises above the ridge just south of Red Gulch Road as another wild fire erupts in Lefthand Canyon. Photo by Joseph Lekarczyk
Late Friday morning a wild fire broke out in Lefthand Canyon just south of Lyons. Photo by Lee Hall
Later that morning at approximately 11:30 a.m. a smoke plume could be seen south of Lyons, coming from Lefthand Canyon. Lyons Fire District Chief J.J. Hoffman, just rolling in with his crew of volunteers, from battling the Button Rock blaze, confirmed that a second fire had started over the ridge, just south of Lyons. While he and his smudge-face crew were confirming this, his pager went off, with the report that a utility pole on Rte 7 just outside of Lyons was being blown about by the high winds, and if it fell, the sparks could set off yet another blaze. No rest for the weary! Pack your equipment and head out again.
A weary Lyons Fire District firefighter, just back from fighting the Button Rock Reservoir fire, gets the word of a downed utility pole out on Rte 7. Photo by Joseph Lekarczyk