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Cause released for Durango wildfire that forced evacuations

The Ute Pass Fire, which started Friday, burned 30 acres and caused the evacuation of more than 60 homes.
Credit: Durango Fire & Rescue
Ute Pass Fire near Durango.

DURANGO, Colo. — A wildfire that caused evacuations and burned 30 acres was sparked by a heavy-duty brush mower that hit a rock, the Durango Fire Protection District said Tuesday.

The Ute Pass Fire started Friday afternoon and burned in the area between Horse Gulch and Ute Pass. Evacuations were lifted Saturday for more than 60 homes in the Ute Pass subdivision and the surrounding area, according to La Plata County.

Investigators found that the wildfire was accidental and sparked on private property on Ute Pass Trail, Durango Fire said in a news release Tuesday.

The cause was determined to be a rock strike from a heavy-duty brush mower cutter being used on the property. The spark from the rock strike landed in vegetation that had just been cut with the mower and started the fire, Durango Fire said.

The property owner was forthcoming and helpful in the investigation, and no one will be charged, Durango Fire said.

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RELATED: Evacuation orders lifted for La Plata County wildfire

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