LAKE COUNTY, Colo. – Two Colorado leaf-peeping photographers planned to spend the Labor Day weekend shooting Colorado’s spectacular fall colors, but the alarming colors they found – reds, oranges, and yellows – were all in an out-of-control campfire in an unattended campsite, reports CBS4.
On Saturday, Joe and Kimberly Randall were exploring a remote area on Independence Pass for the perfect camera shot when they spotted a fire burning. As they got closer, they could see it was a campsite, but that no one was around and flames from the fire pit were climbing up into the trees.
They quickly snapped a couple of photos and then converted from photography to firefighting.
“We spent the next hour grabbing pots and water about a gallon at a time running back and forth from the creek and getting the trees out first, and then I dug a ditch around the perimeter trying to keep it out of the pine needles,” Joe said.
When the flames were out, or at least under control, Kimberly rushed out of the woods to call fire crews.
The Randalls said the Salida Fire Department, the U.S. Forest Service and Leadville/Lake County Fire Rescue would all respond and not a moment too soon.
“We would have lost the forest,” Kimberly said. “There is no way you could have gotten anyone back in there or equipment back in there fast enough. It would have gotten out of hand very quickly.”
What they are hoping for is that campers hear their story and remember to properly extinguish every campfire.