Firefighters responded to several reports of smoke in the southeast corner of the Southern Ute Reservation Monday afternoon, 6/4/18. Four fires were located and resources attacking the fires included hand crews, engines, a heavy air tanker, a single engine air tanker (seat) and a type 3 helicopter. The aircraft focused on the largest fire, called the Montezuma Creek Fire, due to the steep and rugged terrain. The Durango Interagency Type 3 Incident Management Team mobilized at 6 PM to manage the fires, setting up an incident command post and base camp near the fires. As of 6 AM Tuesday (6/5/18), 102 personnel were assigned to the fires, including two engines, three hand crews, one dozer and one type 3 helicopter. The three smaller fires are less than one acre. The Montezuma Creek Fire is estimated at 5-10 acres.
Firefighters will focus on constructing containment lines and suppressing any hot spots. On June 3rd, a lightning storm moved through the area with an estimated 200 lightning strikes hitting the east side of the reservation.