The Bull Draw Fire, burning in a remote area 12 miles northwest of Nucla, has grown to 21,790 acres – up about 2,000 acres in 24 hours, the Type 2 Blue Team said Monday.
Containment increased to 19 percent, from an estimated 12 percent on Sunday. The fire’s estimated containment date is Sept. 15.
The fire is considered the top priority in the Rocky Mountain region, meaning that the team would be the first to receive new resources. About 335 personnel were working on the fire as of Monday morning.
Since Sunday morning’s update, the 34-square-mile fire made additional runs to the northwest and southeast. The northwest edge of the fire pushed into Campbell Point and Coyote Basin area, and the southeast edge of the fire made a run toward the 2004 Campbell Fire burn scar. Only a travel camper has been damaged, the team said.
On the northwestern edge, crews were building hand and bulldozer lines along the Coyote Basin to tie the fire line into the Z8 road and 19½ road intersection. On the northeastern side, crews were preparing the Divide Road for burnout operations. Depending on weather, helicopters might conduct an aerial burnout operation on interior pockets of fuel too dangerous to light by ground crews.
“This burnout will strengthen our indirect fire line by burning unburned fuel between the flame front and Divide Road,” the team, led by commander Brian Pisarek, said.
On the southeastern edge, hand crews and heavy equipment were working with an archaeologist to construct a fire line to preserve historic sites. Engines were monitoring the southern edge and assessing structures to determine how much fire and fuel mitigation would be needed to protect the structures.
On the western side, the fire was spreading toward natural barriers the will limit the fire’s growth and allow crews to shift their focus to more volatile areas.
Regional winds from the east and southeast have brought moist air to the region, but also have helped keep storm cells in the area. The storms cells have a 10 percent chance of producing a fire-dampening wet rain, but also erratic winds and lightning. Afternoon temperatures were expected to reach the upper 80s on ridges and low 90s in the valley.
“The Bull Draw Fire is a long duration fire,” Pisarek said. “Fire acreage will continue to grow as the fire naturally progresses towards indirect containment lines.”
The fire was discovered on July 29 and was apparently caused by lightning.