Hot shot crews keep East Canyon fire near Durango from growing
The East Canyon fire, burning in bone dry country west of Durango, stayed largely stable Wednesday as firefighters pegged the blaze at 2,568 acres and 5% containment.
The previous day the fire had been measured at 2,700 acres with no containment, as firefighters tried to get a handle on a fire burning in steep, rugged terrain a few miles southeast of Mancos on Bureau of Land Management territory.
“We got some additional resources,” said Pam Wilson, a spokeswoman on the fire who said four hot shot crews came in to lend a hand. “It’s amazing what 80 people can do for making progress on the ground.”
Wilson on Wednesday said there are still evacuation orders in place for nearly 40 homes in the nearby subdivisions of Elk Springs and Elk Stream Ranch in Montezuma County. Authorities closed down U.S. 160 between Mancos and Hesperus on Monday for a few hours as winds picked up and the fire threatened to jump to the north side of the road.
No homes have been lost or damaged in the fire. One fixed-wing aircraft, five tankers and three helicopters were used Wednesday to fight the fire, which was started by lightning on Sunday.
“We’re cautiously optimistic that we’re going to be able to button this up in the next week,” Wilson said, before sounding a note of caution. “We have some very dry fuel — a very serious situation down here. It could be the start of a long summer if we don’t get moisture soon.”
Another wildfire that started Tuesday on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation, south of the East Canyon fire, had reached 220 acres in size. The Six Shooter Fire was sparked by lightning during weekend storms.
Hot windy weather is expected to continue through most of Thursday in southwest Colorado, but winds are expected to die down in the evening, according to a Facebook page on the fire.
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