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Rec areas reopened near Little Sand Fire

As of Tuesday, the Little Sand Fire was listed as 40-percent contained and, with progression of the fire, some previously closed areas were reopened in the Piedra area, while others in the Vallecito area were closed.

Due to decreased fire activity on the east side of the fire, several closed areas were reopened to the public on Tuesday. These include the Poison Park Road (Forest Road 644) near Williams Creek Reservoir, and Ice Cave Ridge near the Piedra Picnic Area.

With the increase in activity on the south end of the fire, two roads were added to the list of closed routes. Those roads added are First Fork Road (FR 622) and West Monument Road (FR 630), which will both be closed at the Sheep Creek Trailhead.

In the Vallecito area (Vallecito lake is approximately 13 miles from the fire), the Pine Piedra Stock Driveway is closed at the end of Beaver Meadow, and the East Creek Trail (Forest Trail 535) is closed at the East Creek Trailhead on FR 852. All other trails in the Vallecito area are open.

Recreation areas along the Piedra River corridor leading to Williams Creek Reservoir and ending at the Palisades Horse Camp are open for visitors with the exception of Williams Creek Campground, which is closed for unrelated tree removal.

Mosca Road (FR 631) and Trail Ridge Road (FR 639) remain closed.

Guides and outfitters are open for business and rerouting their trips as necessary to avoid the fire. Pagosa Springs and the Vallecito areas are open for business as usual.

Additional information on closures on the San Juan National Forest may be found on the Forest website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/sanjuan/alerts-notices.

Meanwhile, work continues on the fire itself, helped by light to moderate precipitation earlier in the week.

On Monday, the southwest corner of the fire was reported as being active, moving through Ponderosa pine at the confluence of First Fork Creek and the Piedra River.

In the same area, light to moderate intensity surface fire was observed by fire crews Monday, and the fire continued to back into the area of a 2009 prescribed burn.

Tuesday, fire crews began fire suppression rehabilitation of areas where modifications were made to roads or natural features in the process of fightning the blaze.

Much of that work is related to cleaning up dozer lines that were created to connect roads or otherwise help firefighters contain the fire.

Structure protection continues for structures in the Weminuche Valley, where fire protection measures, including wrapping buildings, have been taken.

Fire Stats

The following stats are as of Tuesday, July 3:

Start date: May 13.

Cause: lightning.

Acreage: 24,450.

Containment: 40 percent.

Personnel: 202.

Hand crews: three.

Structures destroyed: 0.

Aviation: four helicopters.

Engines: nine.

Dozers: one.

Injuries: three.

Cost to Date: $6.741 million.

Cooperating Agencies: Hinsdale County, Archuleta County, USFS, CSFS.

Information on the Little Sand Fire may be obtained by calling (970) 444-2201 or from the following websites:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Little-Sand-COFire/447627881921625

Google: https://plus.google.com/u/0/104028533250808441708/posts

Little Sand Blog: http://littlesandcofire.wordpress.com

About Me: http://about.me/little_sand_cofire

Inciweb: www.inciweb.org/incident/2878

Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/little_sand_cofire

Archuleta County: www.acemergency.org/

randi@pagosasun.com

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