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Crews contain wildfire northwest of Dolores

A wildfire broke out Saturday near Dolores and was contained by the evening. It was caused by a lightning strike from Sept. 15, according to the San Juan National Forest. (Dolores Volunteer Fire and Rescue)
BLM to begin prescribed burns today along Dolores Canyon rim near Dove Creek

A small wildfire burned Saturday night northwest of Dolores on San Juan National Forest land.

The Tower Fire scorched a half-acre between McPhee Reservoir and the Overlook Trail near the end of County Road W, fire officials said.

Fire crews from multiple agencies responded. With the help of a skidder, a fire line contained the blaze Saturday. Water trucks doused the blaze.

The fire’s cause was determined to be a lightning strike from Sept. 15 that smoldered then burned, according to the San Juan National Forest.

A Dolores Volunteer Fire and Rescue crew on the scene of the Tower Fire, which broke out Saturday northwest of Dolores. (Courtesy photo)

“It was burning hot in steep terrain and had potential to grow in windy conditions,” said Montezuma County Sheriff Steve Nowlin. “It did not go anywhere – a good response from local resources.”

No structures were threatened, and no homes are in the immediate vicinity. No trail or road was closed.

The fire burned in piñon and juniper trees and in an old slash pile, fire officials said.

Fire crews remained on scene overnight, and command was transferred to the San Juan National Forest Sunday morning for monitoring and mop-up, Nowlin said.

Responding agencies included Dolores Volunteer Fire and Rescue, Lewis-Arriola Volunteer Fire Department, Cortez Fire Protection District, Mancos Fire Protection District, Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office and the Red Cross.

BLM begins controlled burns

Expect to see smoke from a prescribed burn starting this week on Bureau of Land Management land in the Dove Creek area, according to a news release.

On Sept. 19, the Tres Rios Field Office plans to burn 884 acres of ponderosa pine and Gambel oak within the West Dolores Rim Project Area about 7 miles east of Dove Creek. The area is known as the East and North Pines.

Smoke may be visible in the burn area at times. Most of the smoke is expected to dissipate during the warmest parts of the day.

Expect visible smoke in the area for several days after each burn is completed as vegetation in the interior of the burn area continues to smolder.

The burn is part of larger projects on the Southwest District to reduce hazardous fuels; protect wildland-urban interface communities; improve big game habitat, sage grouse habitat and range conditions.

No road closures are expected, but camping near the unit is discouraged because of increased traffic and likelihood of smoke in the area, particularly at night. The project area will be monitored once completed to ensure public safety.

The BLM obtained smoke permits from the Colorado State Air Pollution Control Division, which identify atmospheric conditions under which the burns can be implemented.

For information on prescribed burns, visit the Southwest District BLM Prescribed Fire InciWeb page https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7852/ or on the BLM Facebook page.