Dry weather and high winds increase fire danger

Mar 23, 2017

A small fire burns along Lower River Road last weekend.
Credit Elizabeth Stewart-Severy/Aspen Public Radio News

Warm temperatures have accelerated snowmelt, and local fire officials are advising caution with any kind of burning.


Two fires last weekend fueled concerns over fire danger stemming from dry grasses and high winds. Basalt Fire chief Scott Thompson urges caution.

“People are doing controlled burns, agricultural burns, ditch burn and things like that,” Thompson said. “They just need to understand that there’s no green grass to slow the fire down and the winds in the afternoons will push the fires and possibly get out of control.”

Basalt Fire responded to two calls last Sunday. One blaze ignited from a controlled burn along Lower River Road, and the other was caused by a discarded cigarette that caught fire in dry grass near Holland Hills.

Open burning is allowed through May 31 with a permit. Thompson said it’s important that people watch any controlled burning closely, are well prepared with sufficient help and extinguish fires in winds stronger than 5 mph.