"It Was Pretty Scary," Dad Comes Home to Backyard on Fire

By: Jessica Zartler Email
By: Jessica Zartler Email

A close call for a Mesa County family on Wednesday as a fire burned right up to their backyard fence. We're hearing about their frightening fire fight and why fire officials say the fire could have been prevented.

A Mesa County dad came home to find his backyard on fire. He and his neighbors grabbed hoses and did what they could until the fire department got there.

11 News Reporter Jessica Zartler has their story and a warning from the fire department.

On Wednesday just after noon, firefighters were racing to douse flames inching closer to a house on the North side of the Country Jam Ranch in Mack.

Marcus Shaw and his family watched and worried.

"It's pretty scary, it's a pretty scary thing," Shaw told 11 News on Wednesday.

He was at work when his landlord called him and described the smoke and flames.

"I called my wife and couldn't get a hold of her. We have three kids and I didn't know if they were in the house or where they were at or how bad the situation was."

He rushed home and found them safe but his house was in danger.

Firefighters say a Country Jam Ranch worker was burning weeds when the wind picked up and so did the fire.

Grand Junction Fire Department Spokesman and former firefighter Mike Page says it can happen fast.

"Those fuels are getting pretty dry. It doesn't take much for that fire to get out of control," Page told 11 News on Wednesday.

Page says open burn season just started last weekend and there have already been atleast four fires just like the on in Mack in Mesa County.

"You really have to be cautious and pay attention to the weather," said Page.

He recommends burning as far away from homes as possible and having a hose or extuinguisher nearby because families like the Shaw's could be in danger.

In this case firefighters were able to put out the fire before it got to the house but for Marcus Shaw, the fire burning right up to his fence was too close for comfort.

He has words for people burning brush.

"Pay more attention to what you're doing. I don't know who would even start a fire today burning weeds," said Shaw.

But more than his house he's thankful his family is safe.

Open burn season lasts through the end of May.

The Grand Junction Fire Department says there are a lot of alternatives to burning, see below:

Alternatives to Open Burning

1. Composting: Call 244-1834 or 263-9319 for more information.
2. Take Residential-Only Trash that is illegal to burn to the Mesa County Landfill.
3. Contact your regular garbage collection and disposal company for details on scheduling a special pick up.
4. Use the City of Grand Junction's Spring Clean Up Program.

For more information visit the City of Grand Junction's website using the link below.

KKCO NBC 11 News
2531 Blichmann Avenue
Grand Junction, CO 81505

Station Phone: 970.243.1111
Business Fax: 970.243.1770
Newsroom Fax: 970.245.3793
News Tip & Contest Line: 970.255.8477
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