Burro Fire grows to 4,388 acres; smoke advisory goes into effect

Sunday, July 1, 2018 3:57 PM
The smoke plumes from the 416 Fire north of Durango, left, and the Burro Fire east of Dolores, right, photographed on June 29.
An infrared mapping flight about 12:05 a.m. Sunday showed small growth in the Burro Fire northeast and southwest of Bear Creek, southwest across the Aspen Loop Trail and southeast toward the Highland/Colorado Trail. The Burro fire was estimated at 4,388 acres, and less than 2 miles from the 416 Fire at its southeast corner.

The Burro Fire grew by about 86 acres on Saturday, reaching a total of 4,388 acres in the Bear Creek Canyon area.

On Saturday, the fire showed growth along its northwestern, southwestern, southeastern and eastern borders, according to the log from an infrared mapping flight conducted at 12:07 a.m. Sunday. The infrared mapping flight, conducted about 12:05 a.m. Sunday, showed areas of intense heat near bulldozer lines in the vicinity of West Mancos Road, Aspen Loop Trail and the Highland/Colorado Trail.

Containment remained at 40 percent.

The Burro Fire is less than 2 miles from the 416 Fire, which burns east of the Colorado Trail. The 416 Fire is now estimated at 49,301 acres, and has grown by about 12,000 acres in the past three days. It is 37 percent contained. The focus of 416 Fire crews were expected to shift to the northeast Sunday and Monday as crews work to enhance fire lines guarding Purgatory Resort.

As of Sunday, it had cost $26.4 million to fight.

On Sunday, Burro Fire crews planned to reinforce fire control lines and remove hazardous fuels in the northwestern section near Little Bear and Bear Creek trails and in the southern section near Windy Gap. The eastern section, which roughly parallels the Colorado Trail, remained unstaffed. Firefighters continued to created back burns along the bulldozer line in the northwest section to remove trees and other fuels that could help the approaching fire cross the containment line. So far, back-burn crews were staying ahead of the fire, incident commander John Norton-Jensen said in a press release on Sunday.

The National Weather Service issued a dense smoke advisory was in effect from 10 p.m. Sunday to 10 a.m. Monday along U.S. Highway 160 east of Hesperus through Bayfield and along U.S. Highway 550 from Coal Bank Pass south to the New Mexico state line. Visibility was expected to be less than a quarter mile at times.

The weather forecast called for a continued drying trend, with high temperatures in the middle 70s and relative daytime humidity of 13 to 17 percent and nighttime humidity of 20 to 30 percent.

On Saturday, Norton-Jensen said additional firefighting resources will be called in if necessary.

“Everything has dried out in the past week and a half and we’re seeing more and more fire activity each day, but our fire lines are in place, and we have a plan to manage it,” he said in the release.

Public information officer Andy Lyon said the fire continued to move slowly toward Colorado Highway 145, but he doesn’t expect it to reach the road before the monsoon begins.

The Colorado Trail remains closed from Molas Pass south to Junction Creek. The Hermosa Creek Wilderness is also closed. McPhee Reservoir remains open, and the Dolores River is still accessible between Dolores and Rico.