Mesa Verde National Park announced Wednesday that the Morefield Fire was 100% contained.
The lightning-caused fire, which began June 27, continues to produce heat inside its perimeter, but there was no threat of growth, park public information officer Cristy Brown said in a news release.
Crews will monitor the fire area, mop up hot spots, and repair the fire line, Brown said.
After additional, more accurate mapping, the estimated size of the fire was increased to 47 acres, up from the earlier estimation of 46 acres.
Because of fire dance and COVID-19 precautions, limited services and facilities are available in the park. A fire ban, enacted May 24, remains in effect.
The wildfire began Saturday on the southeast side of Mesa Verde National Park grew to 46 acres by Sunday morning.
According to Larry Helmerick, a fire information officer at the Rocky Mountain Area Coordination Center in Lakewood, a Type 1 heavy helicopter, a smaller helicopter and an air supervision module were assigned Sunday to the blaze, dubbed the Morefield Fire.
Multiagency staff working on the ground included employees from the National Park Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the U.S. Forest Service, said public information officer Cristy Brown of Mesa Verde, which managed the fire.
The fire was discovered about 5:40 p.m., and was estimated later Saturday to be burning on 25 acres. By Sunday morning, it was an estimated 46 acres.
It burned in piñon-juniper vegetation about 5 miles southeast of Morefield Campground and a mile from the Ute Mountain Ute boundary. Much of the area had previously burned, likely during the 19,600-acre Bircher Fire in 2000, Brown said.
By Tuesday, the fire remained at 46 acres, and about 20 crew from the National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service were strengthening perimeter fire lines and extinguishing hot spots.
Firefighters and helicopters were being reassigned to the Yellow Jacket and Spring fires northwest of Cortez. About 50 crew members remained at Mesa Verde, Brown said.
The park is open, and services have been unaffected, Brown said.
She encouraged visitors and nearby residents to remain patient and vigilant during the dry season and alert officials if they see smoke.
And she reiterated the park’s message that visitors “leave your drones at home,” since they can interfere with firefighting operations.
Montezuma County Sheriff Steven Nowlin on Saturday attributed the fire to a lightning strike. A half-dozen strikes were reported Friday night in Mesa Verde, including one at the fire scene near Battleship Rock.
The Morefield Fire started during a red flag warning and five days after the park announced “extreme” fire risk because of hot, dry weather.
Both a red flag warning and an “extreme” rating mean fires can easily escape initial attack and spread. The park closed Spruce Canyon, Point Lookout, Prater Ridge and Lower Petroglyph trails in addition to Wetherill Mesa road sites and trails.
A parkwide fire ban remains in effect. No wood or charcoal fires are permitted. Pressurized gas stoves and lanterns and other equipment were permitted at Morefield Campground and the Chapin picnic area, but no fireworks or wood or charcoal fires are allowed anywhere in the park.
Brown added Monday that the park’s horse roundup, more than 5 miles north, was unaffected by fire operations.