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Rains keep fire small east of Pagosa Springs

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Tuesday, July 24, 2018 1:53 PM
Recent rains have kept the 416 Fire from growing since full fire suppression efforts ended several weeks ago, said Gretchen Fitzgerald, spokeswoman for the San Juan National Forest.
The 416 Fire is still smoldering. However, flare-ups have all come within the perimeter of the burn area since active fire suppression ended, said Gretchen Fitzgerald, spokeswoman for the San Juan National Forest.

A lightning-caused fire discovered Monday afternoon 4 miles east of Pagosa Springs, is not expected to grow, and the 416 Fire remains well in hand.

Gretchen Fitzgerald, spokeswoman for the San Juan National Forest, said the Spruce Fire is at 10 acres and recent rains have created conditions that are expected to prevent it from growing much larger.

Initially, the fire threatened one structure, but response from firefighters both on the ground and in the air has further protected the structure.

Monday night, a National Park Service helicopter from Mesa Verde National Park worked the fire, and a hand crew is arriving from Buena Vista on Tuesday. In addition, six, 800-gallon loads of fire retardant were dropped.

The fire is burning ponderosa pine and Gambel oak on a ridge top above Spruce Canyon near Mill Creek on national forest land.

Smoke may be visible Tuesday and impact air quality in the Pagosa Springs area.

The 416 Fire, Fitzgerald said, has not grown, and remains at just over 54,100 acres and 50 percent contained, which is the goal for the blaze as fire officials are allowing the blaze to burn itself out on its western perimeter.

The 416 Fire is still smoldering, and there have been a couple flare-ups within the perimeter in unburned patches of forest since active fire suppression ended, she said.

Officials continue monitor for debris flows, which are expected to be an issue during the current monsoon season and into the future, she said.

rsimonovich@durangoherald.com

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