A fire atop the mesa has been burning now for more than 12 hours. It is estimated that it has burned 300 acres so far in the Grand Mesa National Forest. The fire was first reported around 8:30 in the morning on Tuesday by a resident of Kannah Creek.
Officials are saying the fire was sparked by lightning from a storm that passed through some seven days ago. Fires from lightning that may not become active for days are called "hold over" fires.
Since controlled burns were planned for the area, firefighers are letting the fire burn, but will suppress flames as necessary to protect private property and to keep it within the fire management boundary.
"We hope to let the fire do a little good, but also keep it contained and controlled," said Lee Ann Loupe with the BLM. "That way it's safe for firefighters, safe for the public, and safe for the land owners."
The fire is burning more than two miles away from the nearest home. No firefighters have been injured. Two engines are moniotoring the fire from the ground and aircraft are being used when needed to keep an eye on the fire.
A special team will take over the fire today at 5:00 p.m. to help bring the area back into a more natural fire regime.
Officials have decided to close off both Kannah Creek and Coal Creek trails to the public. They are asking people to stay away from these areas until the fire is extinguished and they have been deemed safe.