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Another fire breaks out near Navajo Lake

Lightning continues to plague dry vegetation near Colorado-New Mexico Border
The West Fork Fire had burned 43 acres of land 8 miles north of the Navajo Dam as of Tuesday afternoon. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file)

Another fire was reported 8 miles north of Navajo Dam near the Colorado-New Mexico border, according to New Mexico Bureau of Land Management officials.

BLM says the West Fork Fire started about 5 p.m. Monday and has burned 43 acres since then. Lightning has been deemed the cause, with fuels including juniper, grass and brush.

BLM and San Juan County Fire and Rescue are using four Type 6 engines, one Type 4 engine, one fire use module and one Type 2 hand crew to combat the blaze. The fire was at 0% containment as of 11:30 a.m. Tuesday.

BLM fire officials said oil and gas well pads in the vicinity are a cause for concern, according to a news release Tuesday. There are also houses about 2 miles south of the fire.

Smoke is visible from Arboles, Pagosa Springs and Highway 64 and U.S. Highway 550. The BLM advises that people sensitive to smoke, those with respiratory problems or heart disease take precautionary measures.

Fire managers are using full suppression methods to douse the fire, including two helicopters that were monitoring the fire as of noon Tuesday.

This is the second fire in the area within the last four days. The West Fork Fire is 10 miles south of the Lake Fire that started Saturday.

BLM spokeswoman Jillian Aragon said the area can be very susceptible to wildfire during monsoons, especially when it’s a dry monsoon.

“We’ve just (seen) these drought conditions that are continuing to increase over the years,” she said.

However, Aragon said fire crews are optimistic about the potential for rain, which would help with fire-suppression efforts.

As of noon Tuesday, the National Weather Service predicted a 40% chance for Tuesday afternoon with potential for smaller storms later in the week.


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