East Fork Fire 40 percent contained

A wildfire some 30 miles southeast of Montrose was reportedly 40 percent contained as of Tuesday afternoon.

As of then, the East Fork Fire had burned 447 acres.

The fire is burning 13 miles east of Ridgway and three miles southeast of Silver Jack Reservoir.

Lightning sparked the fire June 15. High elevation, rugged terrain and heavy amounts of dead timber have made it more difficult to build containment lines around the fire. Recent fire activity has been light to moderate.

The fire is threatening about 20 residences, 15 commercial properties and five buildings, but no structures have been lost. Crews on Monday completed fire lines on High Mesa.

Nearly 290 people and three helicopters were fighting the fire as of Tuesday.

Some road and trail closures remain in effect in the area.

Also Tuesday, firefighters continued to monitor the 13-acre Bull Gulch Fire on Bureau of Land Management lands in the Bull Gulch Wilderness Study Area above the Colorado River Road in western Eagle County.

Authorities have decided not to fight the fire at this point because of its remote location, unlikelihood of spreading due to terrain and available vegetation, and benefits to the ecosystem.

On Tuesday, the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests said in a news release that current fire conditions have resulted in additional firefighting resources being staged on forests on the Western Slope. GMUG has received three additional patrol units, three engines and three incident command officers. It said the Rio Grande, White River and San Juan national forests also have received more resources.

With the Fourth of July approaching, officials are reminding the public that no fireworks ever may be used on federal Forest Service and BLM lands.

Also, Stage 1 fire restrictions are in effect in the Gunnison and Uncompahgre national forests, and on many BLM lands in the region. Some of these restrictions limit campfires to fire grates in developed campgrounds and restrict where smoking can occur.


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