Lightning ignites one-acre fire near Summit County Archery Range

A wildfire broke out around 10 p.m. Thursday, September 8, 2022 near the Summit County Archery Range. Dubbed the Cemetery Trail Fire, authorities believe it was started by lightning.
Summit Fire & EMS / Courtesy Photo

Final update, 4:30 p.m.: Crews are now in “cleanup mode” as the blaze is extinguished after twelve buckets of water were dropped from a helicopter, said Adam Bianchi of the Dillon Ranger District. A few hot spots remain, but the fire should be fully contained by 7 p.m. tomorrow.

Crews will continue to monitor the fire overnight and into tomorrow, Bianchi said.

1:50 p.m.: The US Forest Service ordered a Type 1 helicopter to transport water from the Dillon Reservoir to the fire cemetery, according to the Summit County Sheriff’s Office.

There remain no threats to public safety or private property at this time, the sheriff’s office reported. The fire remains within the one-acre footprint and looks “pretty good,” said Dillon District Ranger Adam Bianchi.

Summit Fire & EMS reported that current efforts are focused on reinforcing containment lines and cutting down dangerous “snags” or dead trees that may be hazardous to firefighters.

12:10 p.m.: The fire remains contained within the 1-acre area bounded by lines cut by wildland fire crews, Bianchi reported. Winds are blowing consistently at 10 to 15 miles per hour, but no localized fires are forming, he said.

Wildland crews are fighting flare-ups in the burned area with hand tools and chainsaws, Bianchi said. No water is used.

While the fire is still within the confines of the fire, officials cannot extinguish containment percentages until the ashes and embers are cold enough to touch, Bianchi said.

10:30 a.m.: The fire remains under control with no major changes, Bianchi said. The wind is “pretty dead” although forecasts call for gusts of up to 20 miles per hour, he said.

Fire danger in Summit County is high and the rainy summer weather means there is more fine fuel to burn.

9:30 a.m.: People are asked not to call 911 for smoke sightings in the area of ​​the wildfire.

9:16 a.m.: Around 10 p.m. last night, Thursday, September 8, firefighters responded to a small forest fire above Summit County Archery Range. As of 9 a.m. Friday, Sept. 9, the fire was about an acre in size and surrounded on all sides by containment lines, Bianchi reported.

Flames from the now named Cemetery Trail Fire are about 2 feet high and smoldering, Bianchi said. Additional resources, including air support, are on standby in case the fire develops. The US Forest Service is currently monitoring the flames.

Firefighters believe a lightning strike started the blaze last night. Summit Fire & EMS responded yesterday with its Wildland division, a Wildland engine team, two traditional engine companies, two medical units and field supervisors who were on the scene overnight.

Earnest A. Martinez