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Wildfire Blog: 10 of 11 fires over 80-percent contained

Waldo Canyon Fire. June 28, 2012.

Waldo Canyon Fire. June 28, 2012.

Live Blog: hit refresh for updates

View official wildfire updates on InciWeb

Little Sand Fire:

July 3 9:41am:

  • Currently the state’s largest (24,800 acres) and least contained (40-percent) wildfire
  • Difficulty in battling the seven-week-old blaze is due to the fire’s location on rugged and inaccessible terrain north of the Piedra River.
  • Full containment is expected on July 27

July 2 4:45pm: 24,400 acres burned with 35 percent containment reported. Full containment expected by July 27.

July 1 2:45pm:

The Colorado Department Public Health and Environment has issued a Wildfire Smoke Health Advisory for the Little Sand Fire.

Valid until at least 4 PM Monday, July 2, 2012.  

IF VISIBILITY IS LESS THAN 5 MILES IN SMOKE IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD, SMOKE HAS REACHED LEVELS THAT ARE UNHEALTHY. If smoke is thick or becomes thick in your neighborhood you may want to remain indoors. This is especially true for those with heart disease, respiratory illnesses, the very young, and the elderly. Consider limiting outdoor activity when moderate to heavy smoke is present. Consider relocating temporarily if smoke is present indoors and is making you ill.

Light to heavy smoke is likely near the Little Sand Fire near Pagosa Springs. During the day on Sunday, smoke will move from the fire in an northeasterly direction. Smoke will move downslope/downvalley at night and in the morning and pool along the Piedra River Valley as far south as Arboles and the Navajo Reservoir in New Mexico.  Fine Particulate concentrations could reach the Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups category in these areas Sunday night and Monday morning. In these areas, people with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion.

July 1 1:40pm: 23,580 acres acres burned. Fire is 34% contained.

June 30 5:10pm: There are very few closures due to fire activity. Pagosa Springs and most Forest Service & private campgrounds are open for business.

June 30 5:05pm: 23,575 acres burned. Fire is 34% contained.

June 30 5pm: Smoke will continue to be a problem in low lying areas in the early morning hours. Communities around the fire area in Archuleta, La Plata, Hinsdale, Mineral, Rio Grande and Conejos counties will experience potentially heavy smoke when the fire is active and wind is blowing their direction. For information on smoke concentrations and health advice see the links to the right.

Pine Ridge Fire

July 4, 9:35am:

  • The fire is now 95-percent contained with 13,920 acres burned
  • Full containment is expected by the end of the day with 450 firefighters on the scene
  • Current cost of the fire is now $2.9 million

July 3 11:41am:

  • The fire is now 65-percent contained.
  • Currently, fire officials do not anticipate any further movement of the fire perimeter.
  • The lifting of pre-evacuation orders allow for large animals and livestock to return

July 2 8:05pm: Pre-evacuation order for all residents in and around DeBeque will be canceled at 6 a.m. Tuesday, July 3.

July 2 8:00 pm: Gov. John Hickenlooper declares a disaster emergency which authorizes $500,000 from state’s Disaster Emergency Fund to help pay for firefighting costs.

July 2 4:35pm: Fire managers estimate containment of the fire to happen by Monday, July 9. Isolated torching and burnout of interior islands continues producing smoke in some sections.

July 2 10:45am:

  • The fire has currently burned 13,360 acres and is being fought by 422 total firefighters who have the blaze 35 percent contained. It has so far cost $1.6 million to fight.
  • Crews were successful in meeting priority objectives Sunday, which included keeping the fire from crossing the Colorado River and south of Shale Ridge
  • Monday’s focus will be to work the south area of the fire.
  • A Pre-evacuation order is still in effect for parts of eastern Mesa County.
  • I-70 is still open near Grand Junction, but road closures could be implemented if fire activity warrants.

July 1 2:45pm:

The Colorado Department Public Health and Environment has issued a Wildfire Smoke Health Advisory for the Pine Ridge Fire.

Valid until, at least 4 PM Monday, July 2, 2012.

IF VISIBILITY IS LESS THAN 5 MILES IN SMOKE IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD, SMOKE HAS REACHED LEVELS THAT ARE UNHEALTHY. If smoke is thick or becomes thick in your neighborhood you may want to remain indoors. This is especially true for those with heart disease, respiratory illnesses, the very young, and the elderly. Consider limiting outdoor activity when moderate to heavy smoke is present. Consider relocating temporarily if smoke is present indoors and is making you ill.

Light to locally Heavy smoke is expected downwind of the Pine Ridge Fire northeast of Grand Junction. Smoke will move to the northeast and toward Parachute and De Beque during the day on Sunday. At night, smoke will move downslope/downvalley and could pool along the Colorado River Valley and affect areas down river to west, including Palisade. In areas where the smoke has pooled Fine Particulate concentrations could reach the  Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups category. In these areas, people with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion.

June 30 5:10pm: Burning 10 miles NE of Grand Junction. 12,431 acres burned, 10% contained.

June 30 5:00pm: I-70 has reopened.

Flagstaff Fire

July 4 10:50am: The fire is now 90-percent contained after burning 300 acres. The estimated containment date is July 8.

July 1 1:35pm: No significant fire growth yesterday or overnight. Firelines are in place on the west and south sides of the fire area. There were dozens of lightning strikes as thunderstorms moved through the area yesterday. A small spot fire occurred on Green Mountain, but was contained. Crews patrolled the fire overnight to search for and contain any other potential spot fires. Several flare-ups reported last night were within unburned islands of fuel within the perimeter and did not threaten containment. Today, firefighters will focus on building fireline on the northeast and southeast edges and strengthening the line elsewhere.

June 30 8:08pm: Fire is 90% contained. Total approx 300 acres.

June 30 5:10pm:  No significant fire growth yesterday or overnight. Firelines are in place on the west and south sides of the fire area. There were dozens of lightning strikes as thunderstorms moved through the area yesterday.

June 30 3:55pm: 300 acres burned. 79% contained

June 30 3:50pm: Fire crews will be igniting 20 acres of unburned vegetation inside the fireline beginning at 10 am this morning. The smoke will be visible to communities within the Boulder area.

The purpose of the “burnout” is to reduce the chances of a large area of unburned vegetation catching fire later on and crossing existing firelines. Today’s operation was made possible by yesterday’s successful burnout of 25 acres adjacent to a portion of the eastern fireline. Burning vegetation near the firelines removes burnable material in a planned fashion resulting in a wider and more secure fireline.

Weber Fire:

July 4 9:46am:

  • The fire is now 90-percent contained and has not grown since the last acreage report.
  • The approximate containment date is estimated to be midnight this evening.
  • The cause has been confirmed as human, but investigators are still trying to find how the fire was started.

July 1 1:31pm:

Patrol and mop up of containment lines continues on the Weber Fire. Containment has increased to 75% with acreage at 10,133.

“There are a lot of resources out there doing a lot of good work.” said Operations Section Chief Trainee Steve Ipswitch.

Yesterdays burnout operation was successful. Residents can expect to see smoke in the area for the next few days.

June 30 5:10pm: 9,681 acres burned, 65% contained.

June 30 5PM: Burning 6 miles south of Mancos, Colo.

Treasure Fire

July 4 11:01am: The fire is now at 100-percent containment after burning 420 acres.

High Park Fire

July 2 8:00pm: Cost to fight the High Park Fire is at $39.2 million. 155 personnel remain on scene. The fire is expected to smolder and smoke could be visible for many days or weeks.

July 1 1:25pm: Fire is 100% contained at 87,284.

The fire continues to smolder. Record low live fuel moistures with high temperatures and low relative humidity will promote rapid fire growth if a start were to occur outside the fire perimeter.

June 30 6:15pm: The High Park Fire is now 100% contained at 87,284 acres. The current cost of the fire to date is estimated at $38.4 million.

June 30 5:05pm: Today (June 30) is the final day for the Cobra helicopter outfitted with video and infrared sensing equipment. The Burned Area Emergency Rehabilitation team is currently assessing the area. Resources are being made available for reassignment to other incidents.

June 30 5pm: Fire is 97% contained. 87,284 acres burned.

June 30 3:55pm: All evacuation orders have been lifted as of noon on June 30.