One Acre of Forest Burned, According to Revised Estimate
OURAY – County officials and U.S. Forest Service investigators are still working to determine the the cause of Monday night’s blaze at the Camp Bird Mine, which began as a structural fire and quickly spread to the surrounding forest before being contained in a rapid and aggressive multi-agency response.
Nobody was injured in the blaze; the majority of the mine’s workforce had been laid off about two weeks ago. The fire was called in by a worker who had gone up to the mine to retrieve some items.
“He went in and everything was fine, and when he turned around to go out there were 100-foot flames,” said Ouray County Sheriff Junior Mattivi.
The fire is believed to have started in a small outbuilding behind the Camp Bird Mine’s picturesque office structure and the nearby mine superintendent’s residence dating back to about 1912. Neither of these historically significant structures was damaged in the fire, Mattivi said.
Mattivi reported that a total of 29 professional firefighters from two separate Forest Service wildfire crews stationed in the area were dispatched to help extinguish the blaze, in addition to the volunteer response from the Ouray Fire District and Ridgway Fire District. A firefighting helicopter responded to the scene but was ultimately not needed.
Contrary to earlier reports of a five-acre blaze, Mattivi clarified that “probably less than an acre” of forest burned before the fire was contained. This total burned area was spread out over about five acres, however.
“There were a lot of spot fires, but we got on it quick and kept it from spreading,” Mattivi said. “We have got some beetle kill up there, but fortunately the fire didn’t get into those stands.”
According to a final incident report released by Ouray Volunteer Fire Department Chief Trevor Latta on Monday night, June 24, all fire and hot spots were extinguished Monday at 2 p.m.
PUBLISHED ON JUNE 24 AT 9:31 A.M.
Fire at Camp Bird Mine Believed Contained
OURAY COUNTY – A structural fire at the Camp Bird Mine ignited surrounding trees and quickly grew to a five-acre blaze before fire crews successfully contained it Sunday, June 23.
The Ouray Volunteer Fire Department, called to the scene at 6:25 p.m., was joined by crews from the United States Forest Service and Ridgway Fire District. Additional entities involved included the Ouray County Sheriff’s Office, Ouray Police Department, Ouray County Emergency Medical Services, Ouray County Communications as well as safety crews from the Revenue-Virginius Mine and Camp Bird Mine. A firefighting helicopter was dispatched to the scene and aided in the effort to contain the blaze.
Crews subdued the fire and contained it to about one acre, going home for the night at around 10:30 p.m., with USFS firefighters remaining overnight to watch for flare-ups.
Numerous mine structures and historic buildings are close to the containment area, but according to an incident report, the fire had “laid down” by Monday morning, and was not expected to break the containment zone.
No further status updates are available at this time.
Miners at the Revenue-Virginius mine (just up the road from the Camp Bird Mine) were evacuated as a safety measure, but were expected to be allowed to return to work this morning.
The Camp Bird Mine is located on County Road 361 near Ouray. The historic, long-dormant mine has been active once again since last September under new operator Caldera Mineral Resources, but operations have been in a holding pattern for about two weeks now, with 15 of 22 workers laid off.
PUBLISHED AT 10:35 P.M. ON JUNE 23
UPDATE: Fire Contained at Camp Bird Mine
OURAY COUNTY - A structure fire at the Camp Bird Mine near Ouray was contained to one acre Sunday night and Ouray County fire crews have been cleared from the scene.
According to the Ouray County Sheriff's Office, "all county resources are clear for the night" after a single structure fire was contained to one acre. A Bureau of Land Management crew will remain at the scene overnight to monitor it.
PUBLISHED AT 9:03 P.M. ON JUNE 23
BREAKING: Crews Fighting Structure Fire at Camp Bird Mine
OURAY COUNTY - The Ouray County Sheriff's Office reported on Sunday evening at 7:35 p.m. that fire crews are fighting a single structure fire at the Camp Bird Mine, located approximately six miles south of Ouray.
According to the sheriff's office, the Ouray Volunteer Fire Department was fighting the fire with crews coming from Ridgway, the Bureau of Land Management and in route to assist.
Watchnewspapers.com will provide more details when the become available.