Lightning struck in the Gold Queen Basin at about 1:30 p.m., starting a fire that slowly spread in the grasslands over the next few hours.
First on the ground was a Helitak crew of eight firefighters who were dropped into the area. The BLM crew is based out of Moab.
A helicopter then dumped several loads of water on the leading edge of the fire. The water was taken from Loyds Lake.
Two fixed-wing aircraft then assisted the firefighters. A single engine airplane made a precision drop of fire-retardant slurry that helped contain the fire to the Gold Queen Basin and out of the adjacent Long Pole Canyon, which contains a large amount of old growth timber.
Then a P2V Neptune tanker, dispatched out of Grand Junction, CO, dropped two loads of fire retardant slurry at about 7:30 p.m.
The massive Korean War-era plane dropped hundreds of gallons of slurry on the flames, giving the fire crews an upper hand.
A rainstorm doused the area soon afterward. The on-site incident commander stated that the fire was contained by 9:30 p.m. By 8 a.m. the following morning, the fire was declared controlled.
Forest Service personnel state that local crews have been busy responding to about a dozen lightning-caused fires, including an active fire (at the press deadline) near Little Dry Mesa and Starvation Point.