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JENNAYE DERGE/Durango Herald

A controlled burn got out of hand Monday afternoon on property along County Road 516 in Bayfield. The Los Pinos Fire Protection District’s Deputy Chief Tom Aurnhammer said the burn was legal, but it broke containment around 1 p.m. Both the Los Pinos Fire Protection District and the Upper Pine River Fire Protection District responded to the 1-acre fire, which was successfully extinguished by 2 p.m. No people or structures were harmed.

By Ann Butler Herald staff writer

The Los Pinos Fire Protection District responded to two brush fires Monday and quickly got both under control.

Both fires started as controlled burns that were blown out of control by afternoon winds. The first fire broke out on County Road 516 south of Bayfield about noon and burned about 1 acre. The second broke out mid-afternoon on County Road 514 southwest of Bayfield and burned about 2½ acres.

“We were able to get water lines down quickly enough that we didn’t have to evacuate the homes,” said Los Pinos Deputy Chief Tom Aurnhammer.

Los Pinos responded to both fires with two brush tenders, a water tanker and a fire engine. Upper Pine Fire Protection District also responded with a brush tender to the fire on Country Road 516.

“People are being fooled by the fact that it’s February,” Aurnhammer said. “Fuels are extremely dry, and when the afternoon winds pick up, the lighter fuels blow around, and it can be disastrous.”

He said anyone planning a controlled burn should contact the local fire protection district, which monitors local weather conditions. Controlled burns should take place in the morning before afternoon winds pick up.

“I’m hoping we’ll get at least one more round of good snowstorms,” he said, “because otherwise, it will just keep getting drier.”


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