Evacuations ordered for Lake Christine Fire at Basalt, Colorado

Tracer rounds used at a shooting range started the fire, officials said

Lake Christine Fire

Above: The Lake Christine Fire, Wednesday night. Photo: Katie Baum Hueth, Eagle County Sheriff’s Office.

(UPDATED at 8:19 a.m. MDT July 5, 2018)

Mandatory evacuations are in effect in several locations for the Lake Christine Fire that is burning between Basalt and El Jebel, Colorado 15 air miles southeast of Glenwood Springs.

The fire started July 3 from tracer ammunition being used by shooters near Basalt.

Fire officials estimated Thursday morning it has burned approximately 4,900 acres.

map lake christine fire
Map showing the location of the Lake Christine Fire between Basalt and El Jebel, Colorado, updated at 9:45 a.m MDT July 5, 2018.

Below is a time-lapse showing the growth of the fire on July 4.

(Originally published at 2:30 p.m. MDT July 4, 2018)

A Type 2 Incident Management Team (IMT), led by Incident Commander Mike Almas, has been ordered for the Lake Christine Fire that is forcing residents to evacuate in the community of Basalt, Colorado. The fire is near Highway 82, 17 miles northwest of Aspen, Colorado. Since the Rocky Mountain Geographic Area is running out of available IMTs, this team will come from the Northern Rockies Geographic Area which includes Montana, North Dakota, and Northern Idaho.

At about noon Wednesday the size was estimated at around 300 acres, but in a video on Periscope at 2 p.m. the fire appeared to be very active.

Lake Christine Fire
Lake Christine Fire — a screen grab from Periscope video by Jay Knight at about 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Information about evacuations can be found here.

Authorities said the fire was started by individuals firing tracer rounds on Tuesday.

Below is an excerpt from the Aspen Times:

Basalt Town Manager Ryan Mahoney confirmed the fire, which was dubbed the Lake Christine Fire, started at the range. He said town officials asked Colorado Parks and Wildlife on Monday about closing the shooting range on the wildlife area but had not heard back as of Tuesday afternoon before the fire started.

Two people were cited for starting the fire at the range, according to Jessie Porter of the Eagle County Sheriff’s Department. She could not immediately confirm what they were cited for late Tuesday night.

[Basalt Fire Chief Scott] Thompson said they preserved evidence at the range and the two people cited were firing “tracer rounds.” They were cooperative and talked with law enforcement officials, he said.

With all the large fires burning in Colorado it is hard to imagine how anyone in the state would think it was a good idea to use incendiary rounds.

map Lake Christine Fire
Map showing the location of the Lake Christine Fire at Basalt, Colorado.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

4 thoughts on “Evacuations ordered for Lake Christine Fire at Basalt, Colorado”

  1. Thanks for this information. Our son lives in the Basalt area and has been in contact with us since the fire started and was just told to evacuate. We are from Ohio and visit him regular.

  2. Colorado Parks & Wildlife have mismanaged the shooting range for many years and this is the second fire in 5 years. As dry as it is, it should have been closed months ago. You cant make this stuff up – they are supposed to take care of the environment and look what they allow to happen. A request was made weeks ago by a friend to close it and they replied that they have it under control…

  3. Where did Smoky The Bear disappear to? Isn’t it time to change the rules at gun ranges and warn
    shooters about the dangers of using tracers or exploding targets out in the wild?
    How about an IQ test (sic)?

  4. Seems like he situation could use an Area Command team. We will see if the AA’s decide to supplement their management duties….


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