A wildfire nine miles east of Dove Creek in the Dolores River Canyon has grown to 115 acres, up from 60 acres on Monday.
The Secret Canyon Fire was started by lightning on Saturday, and is burning in oak brush and piñon-juniper forests on Bureau of Land Management land, officials said.
The fire is being actively suppressed because of nearby private property, power lines and oil and gas facilities.
About 60 firefighters have been assigned to the fire including two Type 2 hand crews, five fire engines, one water tender and a Division of Fire Prevention and Control helicopter.
Steep, rugged terrain makes access difficult for ground crews as they work to secure a fire perimeter. The helicopter has been dropping water on otherwise inaccessible portions of the fire.
“The fire is moving around quite a bit,” Asbjorn said on Monday. “It was moving toward the south, so the helicopter was focusing on water drops there and slowed it down.”
On Monday, containment lines were being built on the fire’s western edge. Zero containment was reported, and no update has been released.
Fire managers plan to use natural barriers, existing roads, and previous fuels reduction projects to minimize fire growth.
So called roll-outs – burning vegetation that rolls down the canyon – have occurred, and are spreading the fire.
Currently no area closures have been announced, and no structures were threatened.
The fire is within 1.5 miles of unoccupied critical habitat of the Gunnison sage grouse, and is 6 miles from occupied critical habitat of the bird, which is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The BLM said the fire is not anticipated to threaten Gunnison sage grouse habitat at this time.
“They are trying to suppress this one due to the values at risk,” Asbjorn said.