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Dry, Windy Conditions Cause Fires To Spread Over Weekend, Fire Danger Still 'Critical'

Sep 29, 2019

A brush fire broke out along Highway 82 near Willits Town Center early Sunday afternoon
Credit Christin Kay / Aspen Public Radio

High winds and dry conditions led to the spread of at least two fires in the region over the weekend. 

Early Sunday afternoon, Roaring Fork Fire and Rescue extinguished a brush fire near Whole Foods in Willits Town Center along Highway 82.

An eastbound lane that was closed due to the fire was re-opened before 2 p.m.

Battalion chief Jake Anderson said the cause was undetermined.

"You can imagine all the things that can start a fire by a highway," he said. 

The Granite Lake Fire was detected on Saturday in a remote area of the White River National Forest in the Frying Pan Valley, approximately 13 miles southeast of Meredith. It is being managed by the Upper Colorado River Fire and Aviation Management Unit.

Smoke from the fire may be visible from Aspen to Basalt. Residents can check air quality here. 

The U.S. Forest Service says the fire was naturally-caused, possibly by a lighting strike, on a steep slope at about 11,000 feet in elevation.

An infrared flight Saturday evening estimated the fire at 113 acres. It is not presently threatening any structures or infrastructure.

Members of Roaring Fork Fire and Rescue respond to the Willits brush fire Sunday.
Credit Christin Kay / Aspen Public Radio

Pitkin County Emergency Management rated fire danger Sunday and Monday as "critical," due to the hot and windy conditions.

Significant precipitation is not expected in the Roaring Fork Valley over the next few days.