WeldCo grass fire SE of Kersey 100% contained

Posted at 12:26 AM, Sep 19, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-19 02:26:41-04

A grass fire southeast of Kersey in Weld County that grew to be several miles long in about two hours is now 100% contained, a spokesperson with Platte Valley Fire said Friday night. 

Although the 12,699-acre fire did not threaten any structures, it was sending a huge plume of smoke that could be seen from miles away.  

The first report of the fire came in around 10 a.m. Friday, according to the Platte Valley Fire Department. It started east of Kersey, near the intersection of Highway 34 and Weld County Road 69, and grew rapidly south toward Interstate 76.

On a map, the distance between the 34/69 intersection and I-76 is about 11 miles.

No structures were endangered by the blaze, the fire department said. Satellite maps show empty land in the area. 

Another fire near the Jefferson County-Gilpin County line caused 20 homeowners to get Level One reverse notification warnings, which basically notified them to "be ready" to evacuate.

The Blackhawk Ridge Fire burned only one acre in Golden Gate Canyon. It was started by dry lightning on Thursday night.

"We've got a lot of light grassy fuels, what we call 'one-hour fuels.' It has great moisture but dries out within an hour once the sun hits it," said Golden Gate Fire Chief Dan Roozen.

The fire got a few water drops from a helicopter, followed by 30 firefighters on the ground. The flames were about a half-mile from the closest home.

"We know because it's been so dry, that it could happen at any time and we're always prepared for it," said resident Helene Arendt. "You just prepare and you make sure that you've got all your stuff ready to rock-and-roll if you do get that reverse 911."

These two recent fires prove there is no off-season in Colorado.

"When there's [sic] about two feet of snow, that's basically the only time. We do concern ourselves with it during the spring, summer and fall," said Arendt.

The Colorado Department of Transportation said I-76 reopened in both directions at US 34 at around 3:30 p.m.

Get breaking news on your phone, download the free 7NEWS app for iPhone/iPads, Android and Kindle. And follow us on Facebook, Twitterand Instagram.