Lightning starts several fires in Pagosa Ranger District on San Juan National Forest


PAGOSA SPRINGS, CO (KRQE)- Four small fires were started by a lightning storm on June 13 on the San Juan National Forest’s Pagosa Ranger District. San Juan National Forest officials report the following days of warm and windy weather stirred the fires which were then detected.

Firefighters worked to assess and work all of the fires and used helicopters to provide support as well as water drops. Two of the smaller fires were contained and controlled.

The Rito Fire was .1 acre and was located 7.5 miles east of Pagosa Springs behind the Mill Creek Ranch and is now out. A wildland fire hand crew was able to suppress the fire.

The Sheep Creek fire was .5 acre and was located 21 miles west of Pagosa Springs on the west side of the Piedra River from the Sheep Creek Trailhead. On June 16, two wildland fire crews contained and controlled the blaze.

The Plumtaw Fire was 5 acres in size and is located 10.5 miles northwest of Pagosa. This fire was contained by a type 6 engine, two suppression modules, and a helicopter on June 15. Crews are using hose lays and support from the Pagosa Springs Fire Protection District water tender to mop up hot spots. The fire is expected to be controlled by the end of shift on June 17.

The Sand Creek Fire was 9.5 acres and is located 21 miles northwest of Pagosa and is burning in the Little Sand burn scar in the Piedra Special Management Area. After the fire was assessed on the ground, fire crews decided not to engage due to hazardous snags, heavy fuel loads, and the difficult terrain. On Wednesday, June 17, a helicopter will be used to provide water drops on the fire.

A wildland fire modules will be flown in to assess containment options. The public is asked to be aware of the fire activity before deciding to recreate in the Sand Creek Area.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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