San Juan National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
15 Burnett Court
Durango, CO 81301
DURANGO, CO, August 6, 2019 – On Tuesday, August 6, Incident Commander Ian Barrett returned command of the 577 Fire to Noah Daniels of the Columbine Ranger District of the San Juan National Forest. The fire area will now be monitored by local Forest Service firefighters and one wildland fire module.
Firefighters have been managing this low-intensity ground fire to improve forest health since it was started by lighting on July 28. No homes are threatened by the 38-acre fire south of Pargin Mountain, in a rugged area of the San Juan National Forest.
Firefighters have carefully selected and prepared roads and trails around the fire to serve as containment lines. They will allow the surface fire to creep within this containment area, reducing excess vegetation that has accumulated over years of fire suppression. If fire activity increases, containment action will be taken as appropriate.
Fire managers expect the 577 Fire to continue its slow activity for several weeks, depending on weather conditions. On warm, dry days when the fire is more active, smoke may be visible from Durango, Pagosa Springs, and Ignacio.
The recent moist weather has created ideal conditions for fire to gradually and safely restore the fire-dependent ponderosa pine ecosystem to heathier, more natural conditions. The fire is slowly consuming dead trees and branches, as well as small, overcrowded live trees and shrubs. This natural thinning will decrease competition for water and nutrients among the remaining trees, and improve habitat for elk and deer. In the future, this area of forest will be more resilient to future fires, insects, and disease.
Local fire managers will continue to work in close cooperation with Southern Ute tribal representatives to determine how to manage the fire on the small portion of the containment area that extends onto tribal lands.