A couple of weeks ago it was a movie crew filming “Dear Eleanor,” Tuesday morning at 6:45 a.m., it was a news crew from the Fox Network in Denver visiting Lyons to do a “live remote” about the extreme fire danger in Colorado. Why Lyons?
Well, Monday afternoon while he and his crew were attending a medical assist for a mountain biker who had gone over his handlebars up at Hall Ranch, Fire Chief J.J. Hoffman got a call about a wildfire starting up on Eagle Ridge Road just east of Lyons. Due to a quick response and a lot of luck, Hoffman and a second crew were able to contain the fire to a little less than an acre of grass and some tree
trunks. If the Tuesday winds had arrived on Monday afternoon, it might have been a different story; like the story, up in Rocky Mountain National Park.
The Park Service confirmed Tuesday morning that a small two-acre fire had erupted on the north end of Big Meadows on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park. Officials believe it was started by lightning. The fire is about four miles from the Green Mountain Trailhead, roughly two and a half miles from the Granite Falls area. Fire managers have ordered resources to assess the fire.
Hoffman and his firefighters were up on Eagle Ridge until well after midnight Monday night/Tuesday morning, keeping an eye on, and knocking down the hot spots. To be on the safe side, he will continue to have someone on site for the next twenty-four hours. The Chief said the cause of the fire is still “undetermined,” but he added that they had “looked at the lightning strike map, and there weren’t any strikes up on Eagle Ridge Monday afternoon.” Hoffman speculated that someone might not have put out there campfire as completely as they thought they had, since a “warm” fire ring was found in the vicinity.
A haggard Hoffman said he is extremely worried about the present fire conditions surrounding the Lyons area, and warned residents not to become too complacent because of the relatively wet spring. He noted that “all it did was increase the grass, and grass burns!” Hoffman went on to explain that he has several monitoring sites around the Lyons Fire District, and “when the temperatures go up, and the humidity level in the fuel goes down to, or below twelve percent, there are going to be fires.” He added that the current humidity level at three of his monitoring sites is twelve percent. Hoffman added that Douglas and Jefferson Counties have enacted level one fire bans, and Boulder County followed shuti on Wednesday at noon.
On top of all this, Hoffman says he has been keeping a wary eye on the spring runoff water levels of the two forks of the St. Vrain River. As of Tuesday, it was up to around seven hundred cubic feet per second (cfs), and he said he would not be surprised to see Boulder County enact a tubing restriction soon. Hoffman added that at one thousand cfs he starts to worry about flooding in Apple Valley and other low-lying areas in and around Lyons.