Area spared significant wildfire damage over holiday weekend

High temperatures and drying winds are reminders that wildfire season has arrived in western Colorado.

No new fires were reported over the holiday weekend, said the recorded message from the Montrose Interagency Fire Center, an indication that people heeded warnings about fireworks on public lands.

“I think the word got out about how dry everything is and people were pretty good with fireworks this year,” said Lee Ann Loupe, spokesperson for the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison national forests.

She said a handful of fires continue to burn on and around the GMUG but all of them have been contained.

A number of the fires were lightning-caused and small — less than 1/10th of an acre.

The Beaver Fire continues to burn on 65 acres about 8 miles west of Gunnison and currently is being managed for resource benefits, Loupe said.

The Black Fire, whose smoke was visible this weekend, is about 7 miles southeast of Hotchkiss and by Tuesday had been contained after reaching about 44 acres.

The Pinyon Fire, 12 miles northeast of Nucla, was about 96 acres by Tuesday and is considered contained.

A fire in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park was judged to be about an acre and was contained.

None of the fires threaten any people or cultural resources, Loupe said.

Firefighting policy dictates fire managers assess each fire and manage it according to several criteria, Loupe said. This includes risk to firefighter safety and using the fire to benefit resource management.

Fire updates are available from the Montrose Interagency Fire Center at 240-1070.


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