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Wildfire Threatens Oil, Gas Wells in Northwest Colorado

Colorado firefighters Monday afternoon continued to battle a wildfire in the far northwest corner of the state, seeking to keep surrounding ranches and oil and natural production wells out of harm’s way. No cause for the fire has been determined, and industry sources had no information on possible impact on oil/gas operations in the area.

With the nearest population center being tiny Craig, in Moffat County, the Elk Springs fire began in windy conditions Saturday afternoon and had burned some 450 acres on Monday as some favorable weather conditions appeared to be kicking in to help.

The latest fire -- spurred by dry conditions and thunderstorms -- emerged as firefighters were just containing the 8,000-acre Alkali Fire near Maybell, CO in Moffat County.

There were no immediate responses from the Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA) and other industry sources in the state on the level of risk to existing oil/gas wells in the area. A local U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) spokesperson told news media that the firefighters were winning the battle on the ground and that cloudy, more humid weather was offering relief.

Firefighting crews were continuing to douse hot spots and reinforce the perimeter line, according to BLM's fire update. The fire is consuming acreage on state, private and BLM lands about 1.5 miles south of Highway 40.

Officials said the main focus continues to be keeping safe ranches, oil/gas wells, sage grouse habitat and major transition lines.

The fire was described as burning a combination of grass, sage, pinion and juniper, along with primary sage grouse habitat south of Interstate Highway 40. Rain was in the forecast.

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