Wildfire burns at Mesa Verde National Park

Keywords: Drought, Fire,
A plane dumps a load of slurry on a fire on the north face of the mesa Tuesday afternoon. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

A plane dumps a load of slurry on a fire on the north face of the mesa Tuesday afternoon.

Lightning sparked a wildfire at Mesa Verde National Park around 4 p.m. Tuesday.

The fire was burning near Park Point, reported park information officer Betty Lieurance,

"They have two local crews on the ground and a helicopter is expected to make a drop," she said. "Hopefully, they get it out shortly."

A small air tanker also dropped slurry on the fire.

The fire was burning in a remote area of the park, on the front escarpment and no structures were threatened. By late evening, the fire was largely out.

At the same time, firefighters were responding to a report of a burning tree north of the Rock Springs Church in the 32000 block of U.S. 160. Other lightning-strike fires were reported through the afternoon in evening, including, at about 6 p.m., one near Road 33.3.

Durango Interagency Fire Dispatch reported that firefighters continue to respond daily to dozens of smoke reports on public lands, including at Mesa Verde National Park. Most fires have been determined to be the result of lightning strikes and have been contained and/or controlled to single-tree fires of less than 1/10th of an acre. However, at least two are believed to have been human caused. Below is an update of some of the recent wildfire activity and firefighter response on public lands in the area (in no particular order).

Lightning strikes have sparked fires at Mesa Verde National Park.

Four small wildfires on the Ute Mountain Ute Reservation have been contained and controlled.

A fire reported late Sunday at the BLM Bradfield Campground on the Dolores River has been controlled and contained. This fire is believed to be human caused and is under investigation.

The Woods Canyon Fire in BLM Canyons of the Ancients National Monument was contained yesterday.

Firefighters are responding to two new reports of lightning strikes this afternoon on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation.

The Deadwood Fire on the San Juan National Forest Columbine Ranger District in La Plata Canyon has been contained. This fire is believed to be human caused and is under investigation.

The Dove Creek Fire in BLM Canyons of the Ancients National Monument is expected to be contained later today at 30 acres.

"We're getting a lot of lightening strikes across the county. We have had two single-tree fires, one was at Cedar Mesa," said Scott McDermid, fire management officer for Dolores Public Lands.

To report a fire on public lands, please contact the Durango Interagency Fire Dispatch Center at 970 385-1324 or call 911.