A 350-acre fire named the “Whittaker Flats Fire” is burning in a rugged, remote area of federal land above Interstate 70 between the Cameo exit and De Beque. Several plumes of smoke and flames are visible along I-70, producing haze in the Grand Valley.
Firefighters are working to contain a series of wildfires in Western Colorado, including one that's creeping toward homes and gas wells near Parachute.
About 50 lightning strikes from a storm that moved through the region last night started the fires, according to Mel Lloyd, spokeswoman for the Bureau of Land Management's area Fire Management Unit.
Lloyd says the BLM’s priority right now is a five-acre blaze dubbed the Cottonwood Creek fire, which is burning within 200 yards of gas wells and homes, about four miles east of Parachute. Fire crews from several agencies are fighting the fire.
Lloyd says a home has been evacuated, but no damage has been reported.
Lloyd says several hand crews are either on scene, or on the way to the Whittaker Flats fire. Several air tankers are also on order.
Four other blazes remained active from last night.
Today's forecast calls for low humidity, high winds and high temperatures, conditions that are “ripe for fires.''