Firefighters dodge bullet in shooting range fire |

Firefighters dodge bullet in shooting range fire

Caddie Nath
summit daily news
Special to the Daily/Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue

Local firefighters say the county dodged a bullet with a small fire that broke out at the shooting range Thursday night, and immediately began spreading uphill toward a stand of trees.

Firefighters were able to contain the .66-acre blaze before it reached the trees or caused any damage.

“It potentially would have been a big deal if we hadn’t stopped it before it got to the trees,” Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue spokesman Steve Lipsher said. “Fortunately it happened late in the day. By that point the winds were dying down and the humidity was creeping up. Things worked out in our favor there.”

The shooting range is temporarily closed for the investigation and could remain closed over the weekend.

Officials are confident the fire, which broke out in an unofficial shooting lane and took off up hill, was human triggered, possibly by a tracer round. The illegal ammunition contains phosphorus, which makes the bullet trail glow.

The fire was an estimated 50 yards from the trees when it was contained.

Firefighters from Lake Dillon, Red, White and Blue Fire District and the U.S. Forest Service responded to the call and extinguished the blaze in approximately three hours.

The fire marks the third close call of the year in Summit County. Firefighters managed to contain blazes near Montezuma and north of Silverthorne before they caused damage to life or property or grew beyond a few acres.

Summit County, the White River National Forest and several towns enacted Stage 1 fire bans effective today, prohibiting open fires and the use or sale of fireworks.

The county’s fire danger warning was upgraded to “very high” today.

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