As forest fires burn, danger high for more to start

Goblin Fire in Weminuche at 800 acres

Fall is here, but fire season still has us in its grip.

“Even with the change of seasons, the potential for wildland fires is still high given the current and forecasted dry weather,” said a news release issued Wednesday by the Forest Service. “Trees are turning dormant and dropping a fresh leaf cover on the ground that will readily carry fire quickly.”

Forest Service officials reminded hunters to use caution.

Several small human-caused fires were sparked in the region, including one on Missionary Ridge that came within 100 yards of three structures, said Charlie Armiger, a fire information officer for the Forest Service.

The fire, dubbed the Haflin Fire, was spotted about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday about two miles east of East Animas Road (County Road 250) on Missionary Ridge. Helicopters made several bucket drops to prevent its spread.

“We haven’t had any lighting, so it pretty much narrows it down to human-caused,” Armiger said.

The Vallecito Fire, which started Oct. 12 from a lightning strike, continued to burn along the ground 1˝ miles west of Vallecito Reservoir and about a mile southwest from the center of the Vallecito community.

It was 459 acres in size and posed no immediate threat to the Vallecito community, the release said.

Flames occasionally crept into concentrated heavy fuels, growing in size and sending a cloud of smoke into the sky.

A helicopter was making water drops on hot spots next to the fire’s perimeter to keep the fire from spreading, the release said. A fixed-wing aircraft also was monitoring the situation.

“Forest Service managers are committed to staff this fire until a significant wet weather event arrives,” the release says.

The blaze had 18 people assigned to it. But because of the danger of falling dead trees in the old Missionary Ridge Fire burn area, no direct fire-suppression activities were being conducted. A rain or snow event will ultimately be needed to extinguish the blaze, Armiger said.

“We’re down to a skeleton crew,” he said.

These fires also were burning in the region:

South Hope Fire near Hermosa, a quarter of an acre.

Crazy Creek Fire, Missionary Ridge Road, 5 acres.

Goblin Fire in the Weminuche Wilderness, 800 acres.

Lantern Fire, Missionary Ridge Road, one-tenth of an acre.

Steam Fire, Weminuche Wilderness, a quarter of an acre.

Firefighters responded to a human-caused fire Tuesday on private property on Sierra Loop Road off of County Road 214 near Lemon Reservoir.

shane@durangoherald.com

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