NORWOOD – An agricultural burn and a lightning strike resulted in two fires Saturday afternoon in Norwood requiring assistance from the Norwood Fire Department and the San Miguel Sheriff’s Office.
Saturday started off dry, and afternoon winds caused a permitted agricultural burn to spread beyond its borders on Cedar Drive, endangering nearby buildings and propane tanks.
Later that day, a lightning strike on Coventry Hill incinerated two trees. Given the flaming trees and debris, fire crews had to act fast.
“The full lengths of the trees were burning, from the top of the tree all the way down to the base,” said San Miguel County Undersheriff Eric Berg.
Fire crews cut down the trees, reducing the risk of the fire spreading.
“Coventry Hill is a pretty heavily fueled area,” Berg said, and “we couldn’t risk leaving those burning trees up, because they could have still been burning at the core.”
A rain and snow storm in Norwood later in the afternoon reduced the fire danger, but Norwood’s fire danger could accelerate once more, he said: “It could dry up very soon, and with the winds, we could easily enter into another cautionary period.”
While fire crews managed the fire, Berg predicted that more fires are feared as agricultural burns in ranching areas are a necessity this time of year.
“Ranchers burn their fields or ditches to improve their ability to transport irrigation water,” he noted. “People start burning and the winds increase, spreading the fire.”