OURAY COUNTY – Firefighters responded to multiple reports of small lightning strike fires in Ouray County this morning, extinguishing small blazes before they could develop into major fires.
“There was nothing major,” said Ouray County Sheriff Junior Mattivi. “Most were tree strikes and they didn’t really spread. We got them all shut down pretty good.”
As clouds rolled in and lightning arced across the sky earlier this morning, six calls came in for lightning strikes – four on Log Hill, one near Golden Eagle Trail, and one in another location. Mattivi reported a quick response by firefighters from Ridgway, Log Hill and the Bureau of Land Management. A small amount of rainfall, and fairly high relative humidity helped in the firefighting effort, Mattivi said.
On a related matter, Mattivi’s office is still investigating the Camp Bird fire of Sunday, June 23, and has determined that the blaze was human-caused (rather than being started by a lightning strike).
“We are not sure if it was accidental or if someone started it on purpose,” he said. “We’ve got to get the soil samples tested to see if an accelerant was used.”
The blaze began as a structural fire which erupted in an outbuilding at the Camp Bird Mine and quickly spread to the surrounding forest before being contained in a rapid and aggressive multiagency response.
Mattivi’s office is taking the lead on the investigation, aided by an investigator from the Forest Service. Mattivi reported that he has called for help from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, but that the CBI’s two arson investigators are on vacation through July 8.
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