Current situation: The Sand Creek Fire. located approximately 20 miles northwest of Pagosa Springs, continues to burn with low-to-moderate intensity, creeping and smoldering in heavy downed trees. Being located on a northeast facing slope, the fire has been somewhat sheltered from recent winds and has had little growth.
All Sand Creek firefighting resources remain engaged with the fire, looking for possible control line locations and assisting with the Weminuche Valley structure assessment. During yesterday’s concentrated lightning event, crews and aircraft were available to respond to any new fire starts. The Sand Creek fire sent a helicopter to assist with the 505 fire, which was discovered north of Bear Creek, near Missionary Ridge. Sand Creek fire crews and aircraft will be ready to assist with any new fire starts again today.
Weather and fuel conditions: Another warm day is expected today, with temperatures in the low 80s. Some moisture will remain over the area Friday and Saturday, creating scattered afternoon thunderstorms. These storms are expected to be dry, with strong downburst winds and possible lightning.
Evacuations and closures: A forest closure is in effect around the fire area. The full text and a map of the closure can be found at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/closures/6790/. The Piedra River Trail (596), Little Sand Creek Trail (591), Lower Weminuche Trail (595), Coldwater Trail (597), and Coldwater Stock Trail (598) are all presently open. The Sand Creek Trail (593) and North Ridge Trail (594) are the only trails that are closed at this time. Mosca Road, NFSR 631 is also closed within the fire area. NFSR 631 east of the fire area is restricted to local traffic only. Please see today’s map for the extent of the Mosca Road closures and restrictions. June 26 Sand Creek Fire Map
Smoke outlook: An air quality monitor was set up in the vicinity of Piedra, where U.S. 160 crosses the Piedra River. Data collected from the Piedra air quality monitor suggests that air quality should remain good Friday and Saturday, as smoke from the Sand Creek Fire is expected to move down drainage along Piedra River. Smoke from Arizona fires continues to drift into southwestern Colorado, and may result in a slight haze. Information on air quality and a smoke forecast for the area can be found at https://fires.airfire.org/outlooks/SWColorado.
Fire restrictions: Fire danger across the region is rated as extreme. Fire restrictions are in place on the San Juan National Forest. Archuleta County and Hinsdale County have both enacted Stage 1 Fire Restrictions.
Temporary flight restrictions: A temporary flight restriction is in place over the Sand Creek Fire. Wildfires are a No Drone Zone. If you fly, we can’t. Every time a drone is spotted near the fire all aircraft are grounded until we can be sure the drone is clear of the area. For more information, visit http://knowbeforeyoufly.org.
Sand Creek Fire Statistics:
Size: 71 acres
Containment: 0% (revised from yesterday’s 2% due to improved mapping)
Total Personnel: 248