June 28, 2012, 7 p.m.
Weber Fire Containment Increases to 45 Percent
MANCOS, Colo. - Firefighters continued to make good progress today in preparing containment lines around the Weber Fire. The masticator worked on creating a fuel break in a critical area west of East Creek. Crews and dozers continued to clear fuels in other areas of the fire perimeter. Firefighters made progress in mopping-up today, including around structures and along the northwest edge of the fire. With firefighters' hard work the containment has increased up to 45 percent. Tonight, firefighters plan to work on the containment lines, mop-up, and patrol the perimeter watching for flare-ups and other potential problems.
For the second day in a row, the Weber Fire didn't show obvious plumes of smoke. The cooler weather and higher humidity made the fire burn with less intensity. Although the smoke has laid down we still have uncontained fire line. The potential for fire spread is still in the extreme category. With the forecast of warmer, drier weather the next few days, some of the embers smoldering in large chunks of wood or underground in tree roots are likely to flare up. More smoke is likely to be visible, and some residual patches of vegetation in the fire interior are likely to burn.
Difficult and treacherous terrain on both the northern and southern ends of the fire has not allowed firefighters to safely construct hand lines directly on the fire perimeter. The northern location is downhill from the communication site, south of Highway 160. The other is on the south end of the fire, near the junction of Weber Canyon and East Canyon. Fire personnel have been closely monitoring the downhill spread of the fire in these areas while preparing the indirect containment lines.
Operations Section Chief, Ed Waggoner stated, "Firefighters have made great progress in preparation for the burn-out on the north end, which we expect to do tomorrow. Completing the burn-outs will bring us much closer to full containment on this fire. With the number of fires burning in the west, it is important to wrap up this fire safely and efficiently, freeing up resources to help with other fires."
Fire meteorologists will be watching the weather tomorrow afternoon to make sure it is favorable for a successful burnout operation.
Highway 160 and Mesa Verde National Park are open. County Road 41 is open south to County Road G. County Road 46 and the portion of County Road 41 south of County Road G are still closed.
The next community meeting is scheduled for 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.
Contact: Beth Hermanson, Public Information Officer
Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team C