The 2,560-acre Doe Canyon Fire, burning 10 miles southeast of Dove Creek, has been contained, fire officials said.
The fire will continue to smolder, but it will not grow, said Lorena Williams, spokeswoman for the San Juan National Forest.
Since June 20, firefighters have managed the lightning-sparked Doe Canyon Fire while attempting to improve the health of the ponderosa pine forest.
Containment was reached Thursday, but the Forest Service did not announce it, Williams said. The fire had been expected to be contained Monday.
It is impossible to say when the fire might be extinguished, Williams said. But only a few pockets of heavy fuels remain, she said.
The fire helped to clear out ladder fuels such as leaves, excess shrubs and small trees, that fires typically climb to burn trees, she said.
Clearing out those fuels could help prevent another fire in the same area from becoming an “inferno,” Williams said.
“In the future, if a wildfire were to start during more volatile times, it wouldn’t be able to get a foothold,” she said.
The burned area is expected to recover well and improve habitat for wildlife, she said.
Firefighters have removed much evidence of their work from around the fire. Fire lines have been returned to the original shape of the terrain and re-covered with organic material to encourage the growth of later reseeding. Water bars have been installed to prevent erosion where fire lines were built in steep areas.