PALISADE, Colo. (CBS4) — As fire crews work to contain a small, riverside wildfire that sparked Friday night, investigators acknowledge fireworks are the suspected cause of the blaze. The fire was reported just after 9 p.m. during the Palisade Peach Festival fireworks display that kicks off the weekend event.
— Mesa County Sheriff (@SheriffMesaColo) August 17, 2019
One vehicle was damaged, but no homes were threatened by the 3 to 5-acre fire. There were no injuries.
The East Orchard Mesa Fire Department also mentioned that no orchards were damaged in the incident.
Investigators have not been able to access the steep terrain where large cottonwood trees and dry brush burned just south of Riverbend Park. Thus, fireworks are considered a preliminary indication as a cause. Fire crews are still attempting to surround the fire Saturday.
A Red Flag Warning issued Friday for Mesa County expired at 8 p.m., an hour before the fire was called in to 911.
“I was really shocked to see that they were gonna do the fireworks, even after the red flag warning, and this morning had a little bit higher winds,” said Palisade resident Jennifer Page.
A new Red Flag Warning was issued at 2:35 a.m. Saturday and covers the entire weekend until 8 p.m. Sunday.
Much of northwestern Colorado, as well as neighboring portions of Utah and Wyoming, are presently under Red Flag Warnings.
Late morning relative #humidity already very #dry in many places. As afternoon winds pick up, critical wildfire conditions will exist across ern UT and much of wrn CO. #utwx #cowx pic.twitter.com/Rv6liR5UGe
— NWS Grand Junction (@NWSGJT) August 17, 2019
A Red Flag Warning advises citizens of increased danger for “rapid ignition and spread of fires,” according to the National Weather Service. The NWS announces the warning when a combination of strong winds, low relative humidity, and warm temperatures have the potential to contribute to extreme fire behavior.
Organizers of the Palisade Peach Festival messaged the public via Facebook at 6:30 a.m. Saturday with the following: “The 2019 Palisade Peach Festival will continue today as planned.”
– Visit CBSDenver.com’s Colorado Wildfire section.
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