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Firefighters investigate the origin of X-rock Fire

By Shane Benjamin Herald staff writer

A 4-acre wildfire that started two weeks ago near X-rock was human caused, but firefighters are unsure exactly how the blaze was sparked.

The X-rock fire started about 4:15 p.m. June 8 near the base of X-rock, a popular rock-climbing area near northern city limits west of U.S. Highway 550.

Flames moved quickly up the eastern slope of Animas Mountain, sending up a plume of smoke that was visible from most areas in town.

The fire burned through piñon, juniper and Gambel oak. Three helicopters dropped buckets of water to slow the spread.

There was no lightning in the area the week before the fire, which means it had to have been human-caused, said Karola Hanks, fire marshal for Durango Fire & Rescue Authority.

But exactly what sparked the blaze is unknown. The fire burned back on itself, destroying the point of origin, Hanks said.

“There is nothing in the area of origin that wasn’t damaged by fire,” she said. “In other words, all the evidence I have has fire damage to it.”

There is no evidence the fire started from a homeless camp, she said.

The recreational area receives a lot of traffic, and firefighters are interested in talking to anyone who might have seen anything suspicious in the area.

“We are actively looking for vehicles that were in the area or anyone who saw something,” Hanks said.

DFRA worked with federal firefighters to extinguish the blaze. No structures were ever immediately threatened.

shane@durangoherald.com

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