Spring Glade Fire caused accidentally during mowing operation, firefighters determine

 
24 July 2017

published by http://www.reporterherald.com


USA - Fire investigators determined the Spring Glade Fire that burned more than 300 acres in the Coyote Ridge Natural Area over the weekend was caused by a failure of mowing equipment in a field after a mower spindle struck a rock.

Loveland Fire Rescue Authority officials said no criminal charges nor citations are expected to be brought against the mower operator running the equipment that started the blaze, which was 95 percent contained Monday morning at 371 acres, according to the Larimer County Sheriff's Office.

In fact, LFRA spokesman Scott Pringle said the mowing operations were intended to reduce the risk of fire, and the flames were ignited completely accidentally. The fire was 100 percent contained by 5 p.m. Monday, a press release from Larimer County Sheriff's Office said, although residents may continue to see smoke rising from the area.

A fire ban is currently in place for Larimer County since county commissioners approved a restriction July 11 limiting campfires outside of fully contained ceramic fire rings, smoking on public lands and using fireworks, sky lanterns or shooting tracer ammunition.

Mowing operations are not affected the current fire restrictions, Pringle said.

Metal parts heated by friction on the mowing equipment due to contact with a rock resulted in parts falling onto the ground and igniting the dry grass, Pringle said.

"The fire quickly grew beyond control. The mowing operator stated that the fire was already the size of the tractor by the time he noticed it and was able to get out of the tractor, so he was unable to safely extinguish the fire before it grew too large," Pringle said.

The Spring Glade Fire, which caused the closure of Coyote Ridge Natural Area, was fought with two single-engine air tankers dropping flame retardant and water and a helicopter dropping water. On Saturday, the two single-engine airplanes dropped a total of 11,986 gallons of water, according to Caley Fisher, public information officer for he Division of Fire Prevention and Control. On Sunday, the two aircraft dropped 750 gallons of water total on the Spring Glade Fire.

"I was out here Saturday and able to watch them," said Jason Licon, director of the Northern Colorado Regional Airport, from where two single-engine air tankers were operating. "It looked like from what we could see here, it was about every 10 or 15 minutes, there was an aircraft on the fire. They were loading one (with flame retardant), and one would be in the air, and then the other would be loading."

Licon added he had a view of both the smoke rising from the fire as well as the crews filling the planes with fuel and firefighting materials on the ground.

"It was neat to be able to see it from the point where they were putting the fire retardant on the plane to where they were dropping it," Licon said.

No injuries or damage to structures were reported as a result of the Spring Glade Fire. Coyote Ridge and Rimrock open spaces remained closed Monday, but Wilson Avenue, which was closed Saturday between Loveland and Fort Collins for a time, is open.

Firefighting resources were strained on Sunday by two more fires igniting in the county as crews continued to battle the larger Spring Glade Fire.

A blaze at the future site of Chimney Hollow Reservoir burned between 1 - 5 acres, and a grass fire ignited near the intersection of Carpenter and Timberline roads between Loveland and Fort Collins, where about 15 acres burned.

One single-engine air tanker that flew out of the airport and two heavy-lifting helicopters together dumped 1,385 gallons of water on the flames at the Chimney Hollow blaze Sunday, said Fisher.

Ground crews from LFRA, Poudre Fire Authority, Front Range Fire Protection District, Larimer County and Berthoud Fire Department assisted in battling the Spring Glade Fire.

Lyons Fire Department headed the efforts to extinguish the Chimney Hollow Fire, while Poudre Fire Authority took the lead in putting out the fire near Timberline and Carpenter roads.

County officials have consistently made accurate predictions when fire danger is highest, as fire bans have been in place in Larimer County during two of the worst fires in county history. The 2012 High Park Fire, which burned more than 80,000 acres, was caused by lightning during a fire ban, and the 2012 Hewlett Gulch Fire, which burned more than 7,000 acres, was human-caused during a fire ban.

In fact, on the same day commissioners enacted the fire ban this year, two small fires ignited, one near Horsetooth Reservoir caused by lightning and another along Glade Road northwest of Loveland that was determined to be human-caused.

Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith stated in a social media post Monday he is concerned about the upcoming weather forecasts and their potential to light more fires, as high temperatures and a chance for storms have been predicted, which Smith said carry "potential for lightning starts and erratic winds that could drive a fire."

Public safety officials will be on high alert for flames in the county, Smith said.

The current fire ban restricts the following activities in unincorporated Larimer County: burning open fires including camp or cooking fires; welding; smoking in the open including on trails; and using fireworks or incendiary devices such as sky lanterns, exploding ammunition or exploding shooting targets and tracer ammunition.

Residents may still burn fires in permanently enclosed masonry or metal fireplaces, use internal and external combustion engines with a spark arresting device, as well as use commercially operated wood or charcoal grills designed for cooking. Charcoal grills at private residences must be on a non-combustible surface at least 10 feet in diameter.

Portugal is to reduce the number of eucalyptus groves after the highly flammable plant was blamed for last month's deadly forest fires.
 

Parliament voted for the measure Wednesday as part of ongoing forest law reforms that started in April, before the blaze in the central Pedrogao Grande region that killed 64 people and injured more than 250.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa last week urged measures to prevent a repeat catastrophe, while also highlighting the challenges of forest redevelopment.

"We can't refuse to curb the growth of eucalyptus because we're worried about its impact on the paper industry," he said last week, referring to a sector that represents 4.9 percent of Portuguese exports.

Eucalyptus is Portugal's most widespread forest plant, according to the country's Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests.

But it is cited as a cause of that lay waste annually to around 100,000 hectares of vegetation.



Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-07-eucalyptus-deadly-portugal-forest.html#jCp
Portugal is to reduce the number of eucalyptus groves after the highly flammable plant was blamed for last month's deadly forest fires.
 

Parliament voted for the measure Wednesday as part of ongoing forest law reforms that started in April, before the blaze in the central Pedrogao Grande region that killed 64 people and injured more than 250.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa last week urged measures to prevent a repeat catastrophe, while also highlighting the challenges of forest redevelopment.

"We can't refuse to curb the growth of eucalyptus because we're worried about its impact on the paper industry," he said last week, referring to a sector that represents 4.9 percent of Portuguese exports.

Eucalyptus is Portugal's most widespread forest plant, according to the country's Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests.

But it is cited as a cause of that lay waste annually to around 100,000 hectares of vegetation.



Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-07-eucalyptus-deadly-portugal-forest.html#jCp
Portugal is to reduce the number of eucalyptus groves after the highly flammable plant was blamed for last month's deadly forest fires.

Parliament voted for the measure Wednesday as part of ongoing forest law reforms that started in April, before the blaze in the central Pedrogao Grande region that killed 64 people and injured more than 250.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa last week urged measures to prevent a repeat catastrophe, while also highlighting the challenges of forest redevelopment.

"We can't refuse to curb the growth of eucalyptus because we're worried about its impact on the paper industry," he said last week, referring to a sector that represents 4.9 percent of Portuguese exports.

Eucalyptus is Portugal's most widespread forest plant, according to the country's Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests.

But it is cited as a cause of that lay waste annually to around 100,000 hectares of vegetation.



Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-07-eucalyptus-deadly-portugal-forest.html#jCp
Portugal is to reduce the number of eucalyptus groves after the highly flammable plant was blamed for last month's deadly forest fires.
 

Parliament voted for the measure Wednesday as part of ongoing forest law reforms that started in April, before the blaze in the central Pedrogao Grande region that killed 64 people and injured more than 250.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa last week urged measures to prevent a repeat catastrophe, while also highlighting the challenges of forest redevelopment.

"We can't refuse to curb the growth of eucalyptus because we're worried about its impact on the paper industry," he said last week, referring to a sector that represents 4.9 percent of Portuguese exports.

Eucalyptus is Portugal's most widespread forest plant, according to the country's Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests.

But it is cited as a cause of that lay waste annually to around 100,000 hectares of vegetation.



Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-07-eucalyptus-deadly-portugal-forest.html#jCp