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CPW News Release
CPW News Release
UPDATED: Lake Christine Fire in Basalt forces evacuations and range closures; multi-agency suppression efforts underway

Lake Christine Fire in Basalt forces evacuations and range closures; multi-agency suppression efforts underway
Lake Christine Fire: Multiple fire and law enforcement agencies are managing fire suppression and evacuation efforts. Photo courtesy of Eagle County Sheriff's Office. 
Rebecca Ferrell
CPW Statewide
303-866-3203 x4608

Lake Christine Fire in Basalt forces evacuations and range closures; multi-agency suppression efforts underway ​​

BASALT, Colo. –  The Lake Christine Fire in Basalt began at approximately 6:00 p.m. Tuesday, July 3, at the shooting range at the Basalt State Wildlife Area. Neighborhoods west of the fire are under mandatory evacuation, and multiple fire and law enforcement agencies are on the ground managing suppression and evacuation efforts.

The fire began at the Basalt SWA shooting range, managed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and was caused by the firing of tracer rounds, which include a pyrotechnic charge. This type of ammunition is illegal no matter the conditions. Further, it is especially dangerous during Stage 2 fire restrictions, which are currently in place in Eagle County. 

“Our primary concern remains with the town of Basalt and the neighbors in the area of the fire,” said JT Romatzke, Northwest Regional Manager for CPW. “We are sending additional officers from across the state to assist the town and local officials in their efforts. We live in this community, too, and share the concern for the safety of every person and every home in the area.”

CPW is working with the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney for the 5th Judicial District to issue formal charges in this case. Two people have been issued summons in lieu of arrest by the Eagle County Sheriff's Office as final charges are determined and formally issued. 

“We understand the fear, concern, and anger of local residents; we share this frustration and concern with the Basalt community,” said Bob Broscheid, Director of Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “Participation in shooting sports happens safely every day, and an unfortunate incident like this one shows the importance of respecting the rules and laws regarding the use of firearms.”

As extreme drought conditions are affecting the region, discussions had begun regarding closures of ranges in the area. While no formal requests have been made to change management policies or operation of CPW shooting ranges, the agency has made the decision to close all CPW-managed ranges in the Northwest Region to public use until further notice. The agency will work with local fire and law enforcement agencies to determine when it is appropriate to re-open any ranges in the region.

The following recreational shooting ranges are closed until further notice:

  • Byers Canyon Rifle Range - Grand County
  • Basalt State Wildlife Area shooting range - Eagle County
  • Plateau Creek State Wildlife Area - Mesa County
  • Cameo Temporary Shooting Range - Mesa County
  • West Rifle Creek State Wildlife Area - Garfield County
  • Hayden Range - Routt County
  • Yampa Range - Routt County (co-managed by CPW)​
“We work incredibly hard on fire mitigation and suppression efforts at our ranges to ensure they are not a hazard to the public,” said Romatzke. “The Basalt range is a great facility and is a very safe range. This fire was caused by one person’s irresponsible behavior, not standard behavior practiced at a range. However, with these extreme drought conditions, we are closing our ranges out of an abundance of caution.”  

As extreme drought conditions continue throughout the state, it is imperative to understand and follow fire restrictions issued by local authorities. Resources are available through the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control to aid in understanding fire stages. 

Follow the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office on Facebook and Twitter for continuing updates on the Lake Christine Fire.

UPDATED 4:05 p.m. 7/4/18 to include list of range closures.


CPW is an enterprise agency, relying primarily on license sales, state parks fees and registration fees to support its operations, including: 41 state parks and more than 350 wildlife areas covering approximately 900,000 acres, management of fishing and hunting, wildlife watching, camping, motorized and non-motorized trails, boating and outdoor education. CPW's work contributes approximately $6 billion in total economic impact annually throughout Colorado.
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