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Jun 8, 2013 11:24 PM by Tony Spehar -

Wildfire near Beulah stirs memories of 2005 Mason Gulch Fire

A wildfire near Beulah burned around six-acres along the 3900-block of Northcreek Road on Saturday, but the quick response of residents and firefighters kept it from spreading further.

At 11 a.m. Jim Madone was visiting with neighbors when they spotted smoke rising from the mountains.

"The smoke just started coming up and it wasn't that much, but it was enough to draw your attention," Madone described.

After checking on his home, Madone drove up to the fire and warned neighbors who called 911.

"Got to up here," Madone said of the fast response by residents. "When you're this far away from anybody."

Nine fire teams and eight smokejumpers, who parachuted into the scene, responded within minutes and had achieved 100-percent containment as of late Saturday night. Humidity and low winds helped keep the fire from spreading to surrounding trees, only patches of scrub oak burned.

"They'll be monitoring it through the night, the last I had heard is they're ordering a hand crew to come in and do some hand crew work probably first thing in the morning," explained Chief Mark Mears of the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office Emergency Services Division.

There's a reason Jim Madone and his neighbors stay vigilant to spot smoke and signs of wildfire. In July 2005 the Mason Gulch Fire burned 11,000-acres in the area and nearly destroyed Madone's home.

"Came within 50-feet of the house," he described. "It was too close, but the house was saved."

Eight-years later the burn scar from Mason Gulch is still very visible in the forest around the location of Saturday's fire. For those living nearby it's a constant reminder of how important it is to alert fire crews to any signs of smoke.

"It don't take very long," Jim Madone said. "Just a matter of seconds...because everything is so dry, it's not as green as it looks."

Fire fighters believe Saturday's fire may have been sparked by lightning.



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