San Juan National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
15 Burnett Court
Durango, CO 81301
Current Situation: Monday’s Red Flag Warning proved to be another test of existing containment lines, which held as expected, allowing fire managers to remain confident in the security of the firelines. Despite the weather conditions, firefighters were able to complete the first phase of suppression repair which was to rehabilitate the secondary firelines created by a dozer. Firelines, especially dozer lines, create berms of soil and vegetation on the sides of where the dozer cleared. Suppression repair work pulls the berms back into place, spreading them within the line, and then filling the lines with the slash (or cut brush and limbs). This helps prevent the fire lines from becoming new paths for water to flow and accumulate and helps protect new grass and shrub growth that may follow with rains. On other parts of the fireline, crews continued patrol and mop-up operations, and backhauled unneeded supplies and equipment. Unaweep Wildland Fire Module also began collecting fire and fuels data through Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) technology.
Today’s activities remain largely unchanged from the past several days with firefighters continuing patrols and mopping-up any heat sources near the fire line. Data acquired with UAS technology will aid firefighters in locating heat sources. It will also help inform decisions of the Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Team who begin arriving today. A BAER Team consists of scientists and engineers who assess the severity of fire damage and create a report for the most at-risk areas. BAER actions such as: mulching, seeding, installation of erosion and water run-off control structures, temporary barriers to protect recovering areas, and installation of warning signs may be implemented.
Weather and Fuel Conditions: Weather will moderate after yesterday’s Red Flag Warning with conditions mimicking a more natural pattern. Temperatures will be in the mid-60s with humidity ranging from 17-22%, and winds out of the southwest at 15-20 mph. Fuels remain critically dry although no spread beyond the current 721-acre fire boundary is anticipated.
Closures and Advisories Areas around the fires are closed for public safety. Please respect the closure signs. A temporary flight restriction (TFRs) is in effect over the Plumtaw Fire. TFR violations can disrupt aerial firefighting operations and may fore fire managers to ground essential aircraft. Wildfire are a no-fly zone for unauthorized aircraft, including drones. If you fly, we can’t. http://knowbeforeyoufly.org Stage 1 fire restrictions remain in place for the San Juan National Forest. There is also a closure area for the Plumtaw fire. See: https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/sanjuan/alerts-notices
Plumtaw Fire Statistics: Size: 721 acres Containment: 77% Total Personnel: 99 Location: Pagosa Springs, CO Reported: May 17, 2022 Cause: Under investigation