U.S. Forest Service determines lightning as cause of Brush Creek Fire | SummitDaily.com

U.S. Forest Service determines lightning as cause of Brush Creek Fire

The hillside behind Brush Creek Ranch burned as crews worked to contain the fire. The U.S. Forest Service determined the cause of the fire to be a lightning strike on Thursday, after the fire was fully contained Sunday evening.
Photo By Greg Ellison / gellison@summitdaily.com |

After an investigation by the U.S. Forest Service, the cause of the 238-acre Brush Creek Fire was determined to be a lightning strike.

The wildfire started the afternoon of Friday, Oct. 2, after a storm blowing in sparked a small fire on private lands belonging to Brush Creek Ranch, located 12 miles north of Silverthorne. The area ignited quickly, burning dried-out grasses leftover from the summer and beetle kill pines.

The fire grew quickly Friday night, as heavy gusts of wind spread the wildfire — atypical for Summit County weather.

“We had some eyewitness accounts that there had been a lightning strike in that area. That’s why we initially went with that theory — we didn’t have any evidence to the contrary,” said Ross Wilmore, a fire management officer with the U.S. Forest Service. “It’s our working theory at this point.”

He added that officers had searched for a strike-tree in the area.

The fire was 100-percent contained at 7 p.m. on Sunday, after Lake Dillon, Copper Mountain and Red, White & Blue firefighters helped establish fire lines around the blaze with mutual aid assistance and a hotshot crew.

While several of the initial responders have been demobilized, Lake Dillon Fire chief Jeff Berino said crews would still monitor the smoldering land until the first winter snow blankets and cools the area.

“I found it funny that here we’re fighting a wildland fire, and Copper Mountain started making snow,” Berino laughed. “All-in-all, it was a well-run event. I can’t say enough about the agencies involved.”

No structures were damaged during the course of the wildfire, which was the largest Summit County has seen in decades.

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