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West Guard Fire

Unit Information

San Juan National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
Durango, CO 81301

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News Release - Plateau and West Guard fire and Closure Updates

West Guard Fire Wildfire
News – 8/2/2018

San Juan National Forest
15 Burnett Ct. Durango, CO 81301
(970) 247-4874 News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 2, 2018 Plateau and West Guard Fire and Closure Updates
Dolores – The Plateau Fire was called in Sunday afternoon July 22nd by a citizen who spotted smoke near Salter Y. The fire is burning in the Plateau canyon in steep rugged terrain in a mixed conifer fuel type. The fire is approximately 3415 acres and is located about 14 miles northeast of the town of Dolores within Dolores County.

The fire was very active on the afternoon of Tuesday July 31st. Low humidity and high winds with the same alignment as uphill terrain combined to push the fire into a 2-mile run with spotting of ½ mile. Despite this run, firefighters were able to hold the fire at FSR 524. Wednesday’s conditions were more favorable for firefighters and growth was kept in check. Burnout ignitions use existing roads as control lines and have been occurring at times when temperatures are lower, humidity is higher and winds are calmer.

Storms are predicted to move in over the course of the next couple of days. With the storms may come erratic winds which will make firefighting more challenging. A chance of precipitation is also forecasted which will help efforts if it falls on the fire.

There is no private land in the burn area.

The West Guard Fire was discovered by a helicopter working the Plateau Fire on July 22nd. The fire is currently 1405 acres and 80% contained. Burnout operations were successful and fire activity is minimal with creeping and smoldering. Firefighters are mopping up, monitoring and patrolling.

Between both fires there are 126 personnel committed from multiple agencies. Aside from hand crews, equipment includes: 5 engines, 4 water tenders, 2 helicopters, 1 masticator and 1 skidgeon (a cross between a bulldozer and a fire engine).

For the safety of the public and to be able to conduct operations safely, the fire closure area has been expanded to the Dolores/Norwood road as the east boundary and the House Creek road as the south boundary. FSR 514 and FSR523 remain the same as the north and west boundary, respectively FSR 514, 526 and 528 remain open and access to the lake shore from McPhee Reservoir is allowed.

As the fire and burnouts progress, smoke is expected to be visible at McPhee Reservoir, Salter Y and along Forest Road 514, Dolores River overlook and Dove Creek. There is a chance smoke may settle in at night in the town of Dolores, Dolores River canyon near the overlook and the surrounding area. Because there are so many large fires in the four corners, smoke that is visible or is affecting residents is a combination of Colorado and New Mexico fires.

To report a new fire on federal lands please contact the Durango Interagency Fire Dispatch Center at (970) 3851324. More information can be obtained by on-line at or by contacting the Dolores Ranger District at (970) 882-7296.

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