Log In

Reset Password

Firefighters grow Spruce Creek Fire to 1,644 acres

Forest officials hope to burn through Friday if weather allows
A member of the Roosevelt Interagency Hotshot Crew uses a drip torch to add depth along part of a perimeter line on the Spruce Creek Fire. (Courtesy of San Juan National Forest)

Fire personnel on the Spruce Creek Fire expanded the footprint of the lightening-caused blaze to 1,644 acres as of Tuesday morning and opted not to light more fire because of unfavorable weather conditions.

The wildfire burning on Haycamp Mesa, 11 miles northeast of Dolores, sparked up May 14 and consumed about 10 acres of ponderosa pine forest.

With moderate to heavy loading of dead trees and other organic material, fire managers in the San Juan National Forest opted to contain the fire within a larger footprint and use a network of existing roads as fire lines. Crews had already prepped the roads for use as containment lines and planned to conduct prescribed burns within the unit in a matter of weeks.

Rather than directly contain the fire within the smallest possible footprint, the indirect containment allows the fire to consume the hazardous fuel, which reduces the future risk of catastrophic wildfire.

The Spruce Creek Fire burning northeast of Dolores was 1,644 acres as of Tuesday morning. (Courtesy of San Juan National Forest)

With 5,600 acres prepped for prescribed fire, Incident Commander Pat Seekins previously said his hope was to burn between 4,000 and 5,000 acres.

There are 118 personnel working the fire, including two hotshot crews, multiple fire engines from Wyoming and Montana and local firefighters.

With humidity rising and the arrival of colder weather and wind Tuesday afternoon, officials decided to pause “firing operations” – intentionally setting fire within the units – with the hope that fuel consumption would be better later in the week.

SJNF spokeswoman Lorena Williams said the plan is to have the operation wrapped up by Friday.

“It is still a day-by-day operation,” Williams said. “We're doing firing operations when conditions allow.”

Updates can be found at inciweb.wildfire.gov/incident-information/cosjf-2024-spruce-creek-com.


Reader Comments