The worst wildfires in Colorado's history
Several residents reported seeing an unidentified flying object - later identified as a meteor - fly or fall over Salida at about 12:30 p.m. Wednesday.
One Chaffee County resident, Sharon King, said she saw a glowing bright white light in the sky while sitting on her porch.
King told The Mountain Mail
Thursday that she at first thought it was the glimmer of an airplane, until she saw the bright red tip.
"I watched it arch and fall to the ground," she said.
The whole viewing took about 5 seconds, King said.
She said she believed it fell somewhere in Piñon Hills and searched with binoculars - without success - for signs of smoke.
"It was pretty awesome. I've never seen anything like that in my life. It was an exceptional sight," she said.
Chaffee County Fire Protection District Chief Jim Wingert said two people reported they thought the meteor landed in the Fourmile Recreation Area. Other reports thought it landed in the Turret area.
Wingert said he and other firefighters checked the recreation area but found no signs of smoke. His concern was that a piece of the meteor could potentially start a wildfire.
One of his firefighters saw the meteor "clearly go past the horizon," Wingert said.
He said people reported the size of the meteor to be smaller than a house and larger than a vehicle.
One claimed the tail was about 2 miles long
, Wingert said.
As a precaution, fire officials temporarily grounded firefighting aircraft at the Springer Fire for about 1½ hours, Dawn Sanchez, U.S. Forest Service public affairs officer, said.
Wingert said the Federal Aviation Administration received reports of a meteor over Kansas.
"It must have been humongously large
. I think this thing went down on the East Coast or in another country," he said, "but wherever it landed, you can be sure it made a ker-thunk."