Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue crews snuff wildfire in Silverthorne |

Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue crews snuff wildfire in Silverthorne

Ten Lake Dillon firefighters attacked a small wildfire that started in some willows in Silverthorne on Sunday evening. The fire appears to have been sparked by youths playing with matches.

A makeshift willow-branch fort and matches were discovered near the origin of the smoky blaze, which covered less than one-tenth of an acre on county property just south of the Smith Ranch.

The fire, which was reported at 5:55 p.m., caused minor property damage, but fire officials feared that it could have spread rapidly toward an apartment complex and homes up on the hillside and called in an engine crew and a wildland-fire crew to fight it.

“If we had been experiencing our afternoon winds, it could have worked its way toward some structures,” said Deputy Chief Jeff Berino. “Don’t let the green grass and willows fool you: This was green, and it still burned fairly aggressively.”

Lake Dillon officials also want to remind parents to talk with their children about the dangers of playing with matches and fire. Annually, more than 300 fires are set by juveniles in the United States, accounting for more 300 deaths and 2,000 injuries, as well as more than $300 million in property damage, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. Parents should teach their children that fire is a tool, not a toy, and that even small fires set out of curiosity or play can spread rapidly, with deadly consequences.

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