GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.
A red flag warning means fire weather conditions exist and exactly how a wild land urban interface fire occurred at a field near the Shiprock Road and Columbus Canyon Road intersection in Grand Junction. “That’s a wildfire among homes and residences,” said Ellis Thompson-Ellis with the Grand Junction Fire Department.
Hot temperatures combined with an exceptional drought contribute to extreme fire behavior and the temperatures are only getting hotter. “It is hot, dry, and windy, and if a wildfire starts it can grow quickly out of control which is what we saw here,” said Thompson-Ellis.
Fire crew members have just finished putting out the remaining hot spots from a brush fire that occurred during the high winds on Monday, June 7th. It’s a happy ending because the flames were merely feet from the homeowners doorstep. Thompson-Ellis says, “It threatened homes. We were able to protect those homes. Those residents were out trying to take line and things like that. We don’t advise that. It’s not necessarily safe, but we’re glad everybody is safe.”
The quick response from fire crews and good neighbors smothered the flames and saved the home from the fire that was possibly ignited by a vehicle delivering your mail. “There is a possibility that it started from a truck backfiring, and in these conditions a lot of things; even the heat from an engine can light dry grasses on fire,” said Thompson-Ellis.
During red flag warnings the fire department needs your help and the message is simple: be careful with ignition sources. “Think lawnmowers, welding, fireworks, cigarettes,” said Thompson-Ellis.