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Hermosa outbuilding engulfed in flames after wind ignites ember from brush burn

Sunday afternoon fire leads to $3,000 in damages
Fire crews from multiple stations responded to a brush fire Sunday in the Hermosa area that ignited from an ember leftover from a managed burn the property owner believed was extinguished. (Durango Herald file)

Firefighters responded to a brush fire Sunday in the Hermosa area that burned an outbuilding along with some trees and grass.

The call reporting the fire at 31726 U.S. Highway 550 came in at 12:38 p.m. Thirteen firefighters from multiple fire stations responded with one brush truck, two engines, a medic unit and a tender/tanker.

“We were called to the report of a brush fire,” said Fire Marshal Karola Hanks of the Durango Fire Protection District. “Crews arrived to a small outbuilding fully involved with fire spreading to a nearby cluster of trees. We stretched a hand line across the railroad tracks to knock the fire down in the burning outbuilding. And then another engine deployed to the other side of the property, on a separate property. And on that side it was just grass damage.”

The property owner told firefighters he had been burning his ditches and had put down a wet line and wet the area he had burned before going inside. But the winds kicked up and fanned an ember which then started a bigger fire.

Crews extinguished the blaze, which scorched 1 to 2 acres in about 20 minutes, but they stayed on scene to mop up until 3:30 p.m.

Damage is estimated at $2,000 for the outbuilding and another $1,000 for items inside the structure.

“I think a lot of people may think since we had so much snow and moisture this year that we don’t have the same fire risk we’ve had in years past,” Hanks said. “And although it may be better, it doesn’t mean the fire risk has gone away.

“And we had some rain at the end of last year which allowed some growth and then that growth died over the winter and now it’s drying out and it’s drying out pretty quickly,” she added.

The public is reminded to get free burn permits from the fire station closest to their residence and to burn early in the day so it can cool off before the wind picks up.


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