San Juan National Forest lifts most closures near Burro Fire

Monday, Aug. 20, 2018 3:58 PM
The Burro Fire closure map.

A fire area closure around the Burro Fire has been lifted.

The Burro Fire started on June 8 and burned 4,792 acres. It is 95 percent contained, but is still smoking in some areas, including Sharkstooth Peak.

“Hot spots ... are still smoking,” Gretchen Fitzgerald, of the San Juan National Forest, said in an email to The Journal. “Dead and burned trees are continuing to fall, and some flooding and mud flows may occur.”

Closures are still in effect for Aspen Loop Trail 631, Gold Run Trail 618, Forest Service Road 401 and Forest Service Road 402.

Fire recovery specialists predicted a minor increase in erosion and runoff resulting from the Burro Fire in Bear Creek Canyon northeast of Dolores.

In July, members of a Burned Area Emergency Response team conducted a flyover to map the land affected by the wildfire and determine where emergency and long-term mitigation measures were needed. Surveys of the burn area also were conducted from the ground.

At the conclusion of its analysis, the BAER team produced a map that labels areas according to the severity of soil burn, a key component to identifying where increased soil erosion, surface water runoff, and debris flows might impact human life and safety, property and critical natural and cultural resources.

The map shows that 38 percent of the area within the fire’s perimeter was unburned, and 45 percent burned at a low level. Areas that are ranked at a low burn level may have little change from pre-fire conditions. Typically, less than 50 percent of the litter is consumed in a low-burn area, and needles, leaves and small subsurface roots are mostly intact.

Only 17 percent of the area sustained a moderate soil burn severity. In areas that experienced moderate soil burn, there could be concern for runoff from steep slopes. Soil in moderately burned areas still absorbs water, but more slowly than before a fire.

Closures for the Plateau Fire and the 416 Fire remain in effect.

Closure information can also be found at

For more information, contact the Dolores Ranger District 970-882-7296