Crews Battle 20 Acre Fire on Grand Mesa

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Fire crews have spent more than seven hours trying to contain a 20 acre fire on the Grand Mesa.

At around 3:20pm on Sunday, fire crews received reports of a brush fire spreading fast on the Grand Mesa near mile marker 3 along Highway 330.

Firefighters say when they arrived on scene they could see flames as high as 60 feet burning over the brush. They say when the fire broke out, dry conditions and 15 mile an hour winds were helping it spread quickly.

Officials say it started after an agricultural burn at a nearby ranch got out of control.

They say although the blaze was relatively small compared to most wildfires, it presented several challenges to the 24 firefighters trying to extinguish it. Because the area had a lot of trees, and the fire was spreading across a steep hill, firefighters couldn't get to it to fight it directly.

As a result, crews say they were forced to set up fire lines along the bottom of the hill and a section of the hill just east of the fire where there were fewer trees.

"The hillside is so steep, it's starting to release some rock," said Plateau Valley Fire Chief Mike Harvey. "We have a lot of safety issues. We don't want fire below the firefighters. That's a big hazard concern."

Fire officials say the closest house was about half a mile away from where the fire was burning, and that no one had to be evacuated. They say it was also far enough away from the highway that no roads were closed.

Crews say at this point they're confident they will be able to contain the fire before it does any more damage.

Residents of the area tell 11 News that it's too bad the fire had to burn where it did. They say this past winter, they've seen dozens of bald and golden eagles in the cottonwood trees that were burned.

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