4 small wildfires burning, causing smoky skies

Residents in the Montrose area likely have been subjected to smoky skies in the past couple of days. Four wildfires started by lightning strikes were burning on public lands Saturday, according to the Montrose Interagency Fire Management Unit.

The largest burning fire was a 30-acre blaze on Bureau of Land Management land about seven miles southwest of Hotchkiss. Smoke is visible in the area, according to spokesman Chris Barth of the Montrose unit.

Motorists along U.S. Highway 50 about eight miles west of Gunnison may notice smoke drifting across the roadway from a fire that is burning on less than one acre on U.S. Forest Service land. It is being allowed to burn and is being monitored by firefighters.

The Pinon Fire is burning on about 20 acres of U.S. Forest Service land 12 miles west of Nucla.

Firefighters are working to suppress the blaze using one helicopter, one engine and eight smokejumpers. Additional crews are being sent to fight the fire, Barth said in a news release.

Another one-acre blaze was burning Saturday in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Fire managers are letting it burn and monitoring it.

None of the fires is burning in populated areas, and no people or structures have been threatened, Barth said.


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