What started as a small fire on Wednesday on Skipper Island quickly grew to 10 acres. The dry conditions coupled with gusty winds caused a small fire to spread very quickly. Here's what we currently know about the fire.

By Thursday, the fire burned 50 acres. Friday morning the fire had consumed over 220 acres. Initially, the fire was limited to one side of I-70 but jumped the interstate and is burning on both the north and south sides of I-70. As of Friday morning, containment of the fire is as follows;

  • The fire on the north side of the interstate was 90% contained.
  • The fire on the south side of the interstate was 30% contained.

Interstate 70 has been closed and reopened multiple times during the fire and latest reports indicate it is open both eastbound and westbound with no delays or restrictions.

The fire has not burned any buildings or homes and no one has been evacuated. The fire is in an unpopulated area between Fruita and Loma that does have a significant tree and plant growth to fuel the fire.

A Type 1 helicopter was brought in Thursday to do water drops over the fire. The helicopter was also making water drops on Friday morning to assist firefighters on the ground contain the fire. By 5 p.m. on Friday, the fire is 100% contained.

There have been between 15 and 20 different agencies involved in fighting the fire. One of the biggest challenges for firefighters has been high winds which have allowed the fire to grow faster than fire crews can contain it.

The fire is human-caused. The man who started the fire immediately called 911 and met firefighters responding to the area. His name is Mike Mewborn and he started a small fire to burn toilet paper following a bathroom stop and in 15 seconds of inattention, the fire was beyond his control. No charges have been filed at this time.

There have been reports the agencies involved in fighting the fire asking for gift cards or money to help with the fire. Those requests may be a scam and people are asked not to respond to these requests.

[Mesa County Sheriff's Office]

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