Arcing Power Line Caused Boulder Grass Fires

Arcing Power Line Caused Boulder Grass Fires

15 January 2009

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USA — A grass fire that burned over 3,000 acres of land in Boulder County last week was caused by an arcing power line, officials said Wednesday.

“The Olde Stage Fire was caused by a cable line that was blown into a power line, creating an arc that showered the ground with sparks, igniting the fire,” said Cmdr. Phil West.

A witness who saw the fire start reported it to sheriff’s deputies, but gusting winds caused it to spread before firefighters were able to get control of the fire.

The grass fire burned over 2,500 acres, destroyed two farms and damaged several homes.

A second smaller fire that raced over dry grass and destroyed a home, was also caused by a problem with a power line.

The Neva Raod fire started around the same time and was caused by a downed power line that fell on a wire fence, energizing the fence and shooting out sparks, West said.

That fire destroyed a home on North 45th Street and burned about 500 acres.

Heavy winds gusting at 65 mph caused the fire to explode, pushing it to the east and to the south, prompting Boulder County authorities to call more than 11,000 homes to warn residents of a possible evacuation.

No major injuries were reported in either fire. It took firefighters about two days to extinguish the flames.

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