Firefighters with the San Juan National Forest are trying to reach two small, lightning-sparked fires, each less than one-tenth of an acre, burning on Missionary Ridge on Sunday afternoon.
Chris Tipton, fire management officer with the Columbine District of the San Juan National Forest, said as soon as firefighters reach the two blazes, they will determine whether to suppress them or allow them to burn for ecological benefits to the forest.
Both burns were started by lightning strikes Saturday and are smoldering and burning with low intensity, he said.
The decision to allow naturally caused fires to burn is made individually for each fire depending on the risk the fire poses to the safety of humans, nearby inhabited structures, critical infrastructure, private property and other areas and property of social, cultural and economic value, Tipton said.
One of the two fires is burning in the Red Creek area the other is burning near Baldy Mountain near the Missionary Ridge towers, Tipton said.
The blaze in the Red Creek area is burning within the Missionary Ridge Fire burn scare and the fire near Baldy Mountain is just south of the burn scar, he said.
Smoke from the Baldy Mountain fire is visible from Edgemont Ranch, Tipton said.
Tipton said the Forest Service expects rain will fall Sunday in the area where the fires are burning.
Firefighters in two engines were en route to examine the blazes Sunday evening, Tipton said.
The San Juan National Forest currently has five different engines, a water tender and bulldozer designed to fight fires prepositioned to deal with fires during the current fire season.
In addition, the San Juan National Forest has 20 to 25 firefighters also available to fight fires within its boundaries.
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