The Plateau Fire north of Dolores expanded aggressively this week, jumping control lines, expanding forest closures and triggering voluntary pre-evacuation orders for residents on the mesa north of town.
By Friday, the fire had grown to 10,673 acres, up from 10,000 acres Thursday, and was 36 percent contained. The acreage estimate was based on GIS analysis, as well as an infrared mapping flight conducted at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, the incident command said.
The fire was moving south and burning about 6 miles north of Dolores, down from 13 miles when it started July 22. A more robust Type 2 team has assumed command over firefighting efforts. It included 223 personnel, four engines, a brush mower, four helicopters and two single-engine air tankers.
The fire had been largely contained in Plateau Canyon, but high winds pushed it over control lines Wednesday in Beaver Canyon.
Crews continued to ignite burnouts and attempted to hold indirect containment lines on the east and west sides of Plateau Creek and the south side of Beaver Creek canyons. Firefighters also were trying to hold an indirect burned line on west side of the Dolores-Norwood Road (Forest Road 526).
The fire has not reached the paved House Creek Road (Forest Road 528), and crews planned to keep it north of that point and west of the Dolores-Norwood Road (Forest Road 526).
The incident command team, led by Shane Greer, expected active fire activity in 1,000 to 2,400 acres. The weather was expected to be warm, with temperatures in the mid-80s through next week, with the potential for gusty and erratic winds.
The fire continued Friday to make uphill runs, with group torching – multiple trees quickly igniting from the bottom up.
Plans were in progress to set up a small base at County Road W and the Dolores-Norwood Road.