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Blaze north of Chimney Rock at 168 acres

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Sunday, Sept. 2, 2018 2:09 PM
The Horse Fire burning 8 miles north of U.S. Highway 160 and Chimney Rock is now burning at 168 acres, according to the San Juan National Forest.

The Horse Fire burning 8 miles north of U.S. Highway 160 and Chimney Rock is now burning at 168 acres, according to the Facebook page of the San Juan National Forest.

The Forest Service reported modest growth on the west and southeast flanks. Recent rains and a forecast of continuing rains and below-normal temperatures are expected to lessen the fire’s intensity, according to the post.

A confine-and-contain strategy is being used against the Horse Fire, a lightning-started blaze burning in the Horse Creek drainage about 8 miles north of U.S. Highway 160 and Chimney Rock.

It is burning in dense standing and downed dead aspen, dense oak brush and steep terrain.

About 60 firefighters, including a hot-shot crew and an initial attack crew, were on scene Friday, according to the San Juan National Forest. Additional resources were expected to arrive. Aerial resources were also helping to limit the spread of the fire and helping firefighters build containment lines.

The confine-and-contain strategy is aimed at protecting values at risk while still protecting firefighters and the public.

Firefighters are building direct control lines, indirect perimeter control lines and using natural features to limit the fire’s spread.

Gretchen Fitzgerald, acting public affairs officer with the San Juan National Forest, said the strategy to fight the fire provides the highest probability of success while actively engaging the fire on terms safe for firefighters and the public.

Smoke from the fire is visible from Bayfield, Ignacio, Durango, Hesperus Hill and Pagosa Springs. The fire was discovered Tuesday.

To ensure public and firefighter safety, the San Juan National Forest has closed roads and trails near the fire.

West Monument Road (National Forest Service Road 630), Devil Mountain Trail (National Forest Service Trail 600) and the Horse Creek Trail (National Forest Service Trail 689) are some of the more well-known routes affected by the closure.

People planning visits to nearby areas are encouraged to contact the Pagosa Ranger District for current information.

More information is also available at https://bit.ly/2N5yzFH.

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