The Draw Fire, 8 miles northeast of Dolores, has grown to 1,005 acres, according to San Juan National Forest officials.
“If weather conditions allow, burnout operations may be completed today for the remaining unburned section within the predetermined containment boundary,” said Patrick Seekins, Dolores District Fire Management officer.
Seekins attributed the fire’s growth to burnout operations, used to consume fuel between the edge of the fire and the control lines.
“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.”
Twelve firefighters with two firetrucks 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 west side.
Using drip torches, firefighters start fires along the forest roads in advance of the wildfire. The tactic helps keep 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 power lines 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 burnout operations and patrols will continue along Forest Roads 27 and 28.
The fire is expected to continue for several days, depending on weather, he said.
Live fuels are still holding moisture, which is resulting in slow fire spread in conditions that 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 was reported on Sept. 5 by a McPhee Campground host and likely was caused by lightning a few days before, the Forest Service said. By Sept. 6, it had burned 12 acres. It grew to 55 acres on Sept. 7, then to 120 acres by Sept. 8.
For more information, call the Dolores Ranger District at 882-7296.