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Firefighters battle brush fire north of Cortez

Drought, wind combine to raise risk

Firefighters responded to a brush fire north of Cortez at 11:15 a.m. Wednesday, according to officials with the Cortez Fire Protection District.

The fire started at 13627 Road 29, and put out a large plume of smoke. The fire was caused by a brush fire that got out of control, according to Shawn Bittle, assistant chief of the Cortez Fire Protection District.

Bittle said the homeowner was burning a pile of brush, and a combination of very dry weather and gusty winds caused the embers to spread and burn

Six Cortez firefighters responded to the scene and had the blaze under control within 20 minutes, according to Bittle.

“It is so dry right now. I know that we are not doing the red flag warning,” Bittle said, “but the low humidity is really dangerous, and if there is any wind it will pick up those embers.”

Bittle recommended keeping a water source nearby and staying with your control burn.

According to the United States Drought Monitor, Montezuma County currently falls under classification D3 or “extreme drought” conditions.