By Clayton Chaney
Last Thursday, Aug. 27, just after noon, a fire was reported at the top of Burns Canyon in central Archuleta County. The canyon is located approximately 10 miles south of Pagosa Springs in the San Juan National Forest, off of Forest Road No. 649.
According to emails from San Juan National Forest Public Affairs Officer Esther Godson,the fire was two acres in size and carried a low to moderate spread potential through the Gamble oak and ponderosa areas.
Initially, according to Godson, U.S. Forest Service resources arrived on the scene, which included a Type 2 helicopter that made water drops on the fire. Additional resources arrived on the scene just before 3 p.m., including two more engines, a wildland fire module (10 firefighters) and the Pagosa water tender.
At the time, the fire was reported to have grown to five acres in size and to have been 75 percent contained by Thursday afternoon, Godson explained. Later, the Forest Service indicated that the fire was never more than the initial reported size of two acres.
On Friday, crews continued to work the fire by removing heavy burning logs from the interior and mopping up areas of heat. According to officer Godson, all operations went smoothly.
Archuleta County Director of Emergency Operations Mike Le Roux was able to confirm that the fire never carried any significant threat to the town’s communication tower, known as Oak Brush. The Oak Brush tower is responsible for all communication systems in Pagosa Springs and if damaged could cut off all communication within the town.
Crews were successful in containing the fire, and it was controlled and put out by the end of the day on Saturday, Aug. 29, Godson explained. The cause of the fire is unknown.