FRUITA, Colo. (CBS4) – The man who admitted to starting the Skipper Island Fire on the Western Slope told authorities he tried to keep it from spreading. But the ground was too dry and the winds were too strong.

Mike “Marlow” Mewborn has been living as a nomad for the past 10 years. He was camping in the area near Fruita between Grand Junction and the Utah border when the campfire got out of control.

Skipper Island Fire (credit: Mesa County)

He called 911 to report the fire.

“I wasn’t fully paying attention. I was kind of in a day dream. The ground cover was very flammable, it was more flammable than I thought it would be,” said Mewborn.

Skipper Island Fire (credit: Mesa County)

The fire burned about 200 acres and shut down Interstate 70 due to heavy smoke.

Mewborn says he never intended to cause any harm and takes full responsibility.

So far he hasn’t been charged with a crime.

Wildfire Resources

– Visit CBSDenver.com’s Living With Wildfire section.

Wildfire Photo Galleries

– See images from the most destructive wildfires (Black Forest, Waldo Canyon, High Park and Fourmile), the deadliest (Storm King) and largest wildfire (Hayman) in Colorado history.

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