The lightning-caused Hope Fire, which is burning at Hope Point northwest of the McPhee Dam and Reservoir and east of Bradfield Campground, was 5% contained Friday as firefighters battle the blaze and look to weekend rain showers for relief.
According to information provided by the U.S. Forest Service, the fire is “being managed under a full suppression strategy” by the Dolores Ranger District of the San Juan National Forest.
About 120 personnel were fighting the fire Friday in a forest understory of ponderosa pine and Gambel oak. Planned tactics included ground and aerial firing operations including the use of a T3 helicopter.
The fire is burning on 580 acres within boundaries of a preexisting prescribed fire burn unit, and the Forest Service said fire personnel were working Friday to “prepare lines” around the 3,000-acre area.
“Firefighters are reinforcing and using previously defined and prepared control lines to allow this naturally caused wildfire to reduce forest fuels and improve forest health within those boundaries,” the Forest Service said. “This will decrease the risk of future catastrophic wildfire, protect infrastructure and private lands, and improve forage for wildlife.”
Firefighters made progress Thursday by using burnout operations to improve the lines around the fire.
Firefighters on Friday continued to work on the lines to get ahead of predicted windy conditions coming this weekend. They advised that the community will see an increased amount of smoke.
They also noted that the fire is “expected to remain active due to burnout operations,” but that firefighters are reinforcing containment lines to continue working toward suppressing the fire.
Winds are expected to increase this weekend, but rain showers are expected to increase as well, providing needed moisture to fire suppression efforts.
The Forest Service also added firefighters will continue to reinforce fire control lines throughout the course of the weekend.
The Forest Service will update fire conditions at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov.