San Juan National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
15 Burnett Court
Durango, CO 81301
DURANGO, CO – The 577 Fire, southeast of Bayfield, Colorado is a low-intensity surface fire burning in a rugged area of the San Juan National Forest. No homes are threatened by the 15-acre fire, which was started by lightning south of Pargin Mountain on July 28.
A Type 3 Incident Management Team, led by Incident Commander Ian Barrett, took command of the fire at 6:00 a.m. Thursday, August 1. The team will manage this low-intensity ground fire to restore the landscape by allowing fire to play its natural role.
Low intensity fires improve the health of the fire dependent ponderosa pine ecosystem. The vegetation in the fire area has missed numerous fire events due to fire suppression, which has allowed vegetation to accumulate over decades. The current weather conditions, with monsoonal moisture anticipated, are ideal for this fire to burn and restore the landscape to more natural conditions.
There are 88 firefighters and support personnel working to confine and contain the 577 Fire within an area that has a high probability of success. Fire crews are preparing trails and roads to create this containment area, and prepare for future burnout operations that will reinforce these boundaries when conditions warrant. Containment lines have been carefully selected for use on this fire and future fires.
The fire management team is working in close cooperation with the Southern Ute Tribe. Tribal representatives have determined how to prepare fire containment lines on the Southern Ute Reservation, and are working with the incident management team to plan how to manage the fire if it moves south onto tribal lands.
Fire managers expect the 577 Fire to continue its slow activity for several weeks, depending on weather, as it makes the forest more resilient to future fires, insects, and disease. As the fire creeps slowly within its containment area, smoke may be visible from the Highway 160 corridor between Durango and Pagosa Springs, and on the Southern Ute Reservation near Ignacio.
No area closures are in effect in the area around the 577 Fire. However, forest visitors should drive carefully and watch for fire crews traveling on narrow winding roads.