Smoke rises from the forest-slope at the sight of the Big Thunder Fire Monday morning near Keystone. 

Fire officials are reminding people to be vigilant when burning slash piles this winter after a wildfire started near the Big Thunder Mine in Keystone. 

Mark Menning, incident commander for the Big Thunder Fire, said the blaze started Sunday afternoon on private land. The cause is thought to be slash piles that weren't burned at least five days prior.

Those piles probably continued to smolder and winds on Sunday caused the fire to spread away from the piles and into the rough forested-area where the fire is now burning.

As of Monday morning, crews constructed a line around the fire, but high winds did cause some spotting to occur. Smoke lingered above above a steep pine-stubbed slope as crews monitored the fire. 

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The fire had burnt roughly 4 acres and about 20 personnel were on the scene. 

Menning said private citizens burning slash piles need to be vigilant to check slash piles that have burnt.

"Make sure that you are looking at the extended forecast and that you aren't going to have high winds and high temperatures," Menning said. "Make sure that your snow is going to hold throughout the entire burning period."

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— This article has been updated to correct the incident commander's first name to Mark. 

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