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Lightning strikes trigger small fires in Montezuma County

Lightning caused several small fires in Montezuma County Tuesday afternoon. In this file photo, Jason Walters captured a previous lightning storm in the sky above a cabin on his property on County Road H, south of the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. (Courtesy Jason Walters)
Local fire districts respond to single-tree fires, sheriff says

Thunderstorms with heavy lightning triggered a handful of small wildfires in Montezuma County Tuesday afternoon, officials said.

A single-tree fire in a canyon on Road 25.8 was extinguished by Dolores Volunteer Fire District, said Chief Mike Zion. Lewis-Arriola Volunteer Fire Department also responded.

Cortez Fire Protecton District crews responded to single tree fires caused by lightning on County Roads 29, 25 and M, said Montezuma County Sheriff Steve Nowlin.

Crews also responded to small fires reported on Mancos Hill and near the entrance to Mesa Verde National Park.

None of the fires reportedly got out of control, Nowlin said, and rain was falling around the county.

A small fire was also reported southwest of Towaoc, according to National Interagency Fire Center.

Zion said a lightning storm was reported up the Dolores Valley in the Stoner area, but no fires were found, and the area was receiving good rain.

Smoke reports were also being investigated at Totten Lake and in the Black Mountain area, according to the Fire Center.

Fire activity in the area has been low overall lately.

“It’s been a fairly quiet year,” Zion said.

Cortez has a 30-40% chance of thunderstorms Wednesday and Thursday, and a 50% chance on Friday, according to the National Weather Service.