South 133 Fire in Eagle County between Gypsum and Dotsero remains active, estimated at 25 acres |

South 133 Fire in Eagle County between Gypsum and Dotsero remains active, estimated at 25 acres

Lightning suspected in multiple fires that sparked across the county Tuesday afternoon

Nate Peterson and Scott Miller
Vail Daily

EAGLE COUNTY — At 1:51 p.m. on Tuesday, July 19, a quickly-growing fire was reported southeast of Dotsero and was still active that evening. That same day, three different fires broke out in Eagle County.

Dubbed the South 133 Fire, crews are fighting its spread from the ground and air.

Larry Sandoval, the field manager for the Bureau of Land Management’s Silt office, addressed the Eagle County community Tuesday night in a Facebook update. Sandoval said the fire is estimated to be 25 acres in size, and the cause of the fire remains unknown, although a lightning strike from afternoon thunderstorms is suspected.

The South 133 Fire continues to burn in sagebrush, juniper and pinyon south of Interstate 70 at mile marker 133 between Gypsum and Dotsero. The fire grew quickly, aided by light winds. The sound of a helicopter from the Colorado National Guard’s High Altitude Aviation Training Site soon echoed through the valley after the fire started billowing smoke.

There were no pre-evacuation orders in place and no threat to private property, Sandoval said as of 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Multiple firefighting resources were used Tuesday to combat the blaze, including a type-1 helicopter, a large air tanker and ground crews.

“One flank of the fire has effective fire retardant,” Sandoval said. “Hand crews have placed hose on another flank. Both of these actions are intended to slow and help contain the fire.”

There will be another community update on the fire Wednesday in the mid-to-late morning.

Authorities Tuesday responded to two other wildland fires in the areas of Gypsum and Eagle. The fires were also suspected to be sparked by lightning from passing thunderstorms.

According to a Facebook post from Eagle County PIO, a single tree caught fire in the Buckhorn area of Gypsum and was reported around 2:33 p.m. According to officials, the fire was smoldering as of 3:08 p.m., as fire crews and civilians both had been “taking action to put out the fire.” That fire was reported to be contained just after 4 p.m.

The fire off of Wapiti Road, north of Interstate 70 near Eagle, was contained as of 2:44 p.m., according to officials. One or two juniper trees were on fire, and the fire grew to approximately one-tenth of an acre before crews contained it.

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