The Needles Fire near Lift 2 at Purgatory Resort was listed at 6 acres in size Thursday afternoon with limited growth overnight and no growth during the day.
Esther Godson, spokeswoman with the San Juan National Forest, said firefighters on the ground were supported by helicopter bucket drops Thursday, and fire activity was minimal, aided by a lack of winds.
Crews continued building lines around numerous small spot fires near the main fire area and worked to secure an existing hand line. Crews expected to work late Thursday night and will monitor the blaze through the night, she said.
On Thursday, fire officials requested two more engines and one additional 10-person crew called a fire-suppression module to battle the blaze.
The fire was first reported about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, and firefighters battled the blaze until about 8 p.m. Wednesday and monitored the flames through the night.
“The hand lines that they established (Wednesday) night all held, and (Thursday) they’ll continue to construct fire lines and secure spots,” Godson said.
The cause of the fire remains undetermined and is unlikely to be determined until an investigation.
She said roads in the area and favorable terrain allow engines and firefighters to get in workable positions to combat the blaze.
The fire is burning in mixed conifer.
“It has a very spotty undefined perimeter. That means that you will see embers in the wind,” Godson said.
Two helicopters, including a large Chinook, worked the blaze Thursday.
Two single-engine, fixed-wing tankers stationed at Durango-La Plata County Airport will be available if needed.
Three large air tankers that had been called to the fire Wednesday evening have been called back because they are not needed, Godson said.
On Thursday, five engines were working the fire, and two fire-suppression modules each made up of 10 firefighters were assigned to the fire.
“People will be seeing a lot of helicopters flying. And it is really important that the public gives a wide berth to firefighting activities so we can all be safe,” she said. “People should really strive to avoid that area. Don’t stop in the middle of the road to take pictures of the helicopters.”
Fuels in the area are tinder dry, she said. The 10-hour moisture reading for grasses showed a 2% moisture level, “which is nothing,” she said.
“All of our fuels are on the very high end of our fire-danger ratings. Some are rated in extreme fire danger,” Godson said.
Over the weekend, Godson said three abandoned campfires were discovered in the San Juan National Forest, two in the Columbine district and one in the Dolores district.