Southwest Colorado Fire Update
Weber Fire Update
11:00 a.m. - Thursday 6/30/12
MANCOS, Colo. - Firefighters continue to make progress on containing the Weber Fire near Mancos, Colorado. More mop-up has been completed along burned areas on the fire perimeter, bringing the containment up to 35 percent. The acreage has been revised to 9,279 acres due to more accurate mapping. There was minimal fire growth yesterday.
With the cooler, more humid weather the last two days, firefighters have been able to work on more of the indirect containment lines. These lines are forming a “box” for the expected growth of the fire. As the fire spreads down the steep, rugged slopes and firefighters burn out the fuels on the edges of the fire, the chance of the fire spreading beyond this box is greatly decreased.
One tool being used to help create containment lines is a masticator or hydro axe. This is a rubber tired machine that operates much like a big lawnmower, which grinds up vegetation, making it less likely to burn. It is being used to cut a swath through twenty-foot tall dense vegetation west of East Canyon, creating a fuel break. Firefighters can burn out safely from this line to clean up fuels and keep the fire from spreading further down the slope.
Today’s forecast is calling for a shift toward warmer, drier weather with a chance of dry lightning in the afternoon. The extended forecast is for a warming and drying trend through the weekend
The evacuation order has been lifted for homes on the east side of County Road 41, north of the County Road G junction, affecting about 30 residences. The mandatory evacuation order remains in effect for residences south of County Road G, south of Highway 160 north of the fire, and on the east side of the fire, including the Elk Spring Ranch and Elk Stream Subdivisions.
Highway 160 and Mesa Verde National Park are open. County Road 41 is open south to County Road G. The portion of County Road 41 south of County Road G is still closed.
The next community meeting is scheduled on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. at Mancos High School Performing Arts Auditorium.
Information about this and other fires can be found at www.inciweb.org. Follow us on Twitter @weberfireinfo.
Lightner Fire Update
10:45 a.m. - Thursday 6/28/12
A light wetting rain and higher humidity helped firefighters with containment efforts on the Lightner Fire last night. The fire is now estimated at 80 acres and 40% contained. The fire line is holding well on the south and west sides (which are the largest threats to private residences). Full containment is estimated by 8:00 PM Friday.
There are currently 50 fire personnel, 2 engines, 2 water tenders, one heavy helicopter and one air attack plane on scene. One, possible two, additional 20-person crews will support the firefighting efforts this afternoon.
The pre-evacuation notice for residents north and west of the junction of County Roads 207 and 208 will remain in effect until 8:00 PM tonight.
A Red Flag Warning is in effect from 11 AM until midnight today. Lightning strikes often smolder for several days and then flare up with warm temperatures and/or high winds. If you spot smoke and believe it is on private land call 911. If the smoke is on public lands call Durango Interagency Dispatch at 970-385-1324.
Little Sand Fire Update
7:30 a.m. – Thursday 6/28/12
Overall activity was quiet on Wednesday. Incident Operations reported some light moisture over the fire and generally cooler conditions. Resources assigned to the Little Sand Fire assisted the San Juan National Forest with response to two very small fires caused by lightning activity. A helicopter was also dispatched to assist in the suppression of the Lightner Creek Fire near Durango. Within the southwest perimeter of the Little Sand Fire, movement occurred to the west side of the Davis Creek drainage into an area previously treated with prescribed burns in 2009. It remains north of the Piedra River. Little activity was observed in other areas.
Conditions today are forecast to be drier with a Red Flag Warning in place from 11:00 am to midnight due to heat, lower humidity, and winds with the possibility of dry lightning from nearby thunderstorms. Early morning air inversions will continue to create smoke problems in lower areas associated with the fire.
Resources from the Little Sand Fire will continue to assist the San Juan National Forest in responding to new fires in areas near the main fire. Fire resources will protect structures in the Weminuche Valley. Personnel will be evaluating potential contingency options if the fire should cross to the east side of the Valley. Crews will also be watching for spot fires south of the Piedra River.
In the Vallecito area, the Slide Mountain Trail is closed at the end of Beaver Meadow, and the East Creek Trail (FT 535) is closed at the North Canyon Trailhead. All other trails in the Vallecito area are open. Other closures exist for areas immediately adjacent to the fire. The Poison Park Road (FR 644), and the portion of the Piedra River Road (FR 631) that leads to the Poma Ranch are closed due to fire activity. Closure information may be found at offices of the San Juan National Forest.
Recreation areas along the Piedra River corridor leading to the Williams Creek Reservoir and ending at the Palisades Horse Camp are open for visitors with the exception of Williams Creek Campground. Guides and outfitters are open for business and rerouting their trips as necessary to avoid the fire. Pagosa Springs and the Vallecito areas are open for business as usual.
Fire Statistics at a Glance:
Start Date:May 13th, 2012 Cause: Lightning Acreage: 23,400 Containment:31% Personnel: 234 Hand Crews: 3 Structures Destroyed:0 Aviation: 4 helicopters Engines: 13 Dozers:1 Injuries: 0 Cost to Date: $5.910 Million Cooperating Agencies:Hinsdale County, Archuleta County, USFS, CSFS
Information on the Little Sand Fire may be obtained by calling (970) 444-2201 or from the following web sites:
Little Sand Blog:http://littlesandcofire.wordpress.com/