The Draw Fire, located 8 miles northeast of Dolores, has grown to 930 acres, according to San Juan National Forest officials.
The fire in the Boggy Draw area is burning at low-to-moderate intensity and will continue to grow, but it is effectively boxed-in by roads, said Patrick Seekins, Dolores District Fire Management officer.
“We are using burnout operations along the roads to keep the fire within a predetermined containment area,” he said. “It is a slow-burning, beneficial natural wildfire, with no values at risk and no problem fire behavior.”
A crew of 12 firefighters with two fire trucks are working to control the fire within a 1,400-acre containment area bordered by Forest Roads 528 and 527 on the east and south, and Forest Road 527 on the north and western side.
Using drip torches, firefighters start fires along the forest roads in advance of the wildfire. The tactic is typically used to burn fuel and keeps the wildfire from going beyond the containment line.
The fire is burning forest litter, oak brush and understory of ponderosa forests, Seekins said. When it drops into drainages with aspen groves, it stops burning. The fire is not a threat to powerlines to the west, officials said, and the fire is not expected to reach undeveloped private property to the east and south that are outside containment lines.
“We have contained the fire on the east side,” Seekins said, and burn-out operations and patrols will continue along Forest Roads 27 and 28.
The fire is expected to continue for the next 7-10 days, depending on weather, he said.
Live fuels are still holding moisture, which is resulting in slow fire spread and conditions are not critically dry. Weather forecasts show an increased chance for rain in the next few days.
There are no road or trail closures at this time. However, some sections of the Boggy Draw trail system might be temporarily closed if the fire comes too close. Roadside signs will be posted to alert the public to fire operations, risks and closures. The public is asked to avoid the area.
Smoke is expected to be visible from the Dolores Norwood Road (Forest Road 526). Smoke might also settle at night in Dolores and the surrounding area.
With the Forest Service at a Planning Level 5 nationally, firefighting resources are focused on fighting several fires in the West; therefore, a very conservative approach is being taken with the Draw Fire, Ann Bond, a Forest Service public information officer, said in a news release.
The fire began Sept. 1st or 2nd from a lightning strike. It was first reported on Sept. 5 by a McPhee Campground host who spotted it from the McPhee Overlook. By Sept. 6 it had burned 12 acres; by Sept. 7, it grew to 55 acres, then to 120 acres by Sept. 8.
“The fire is creeping along in ponderosa pine and oak brush, playing a natural role,” Derek Padilla, Dolores District Ranger for the San Juan National Forest.
For more information, call the Dolores Ranger District at 970-882-7296.