Plumtaw Fire transitioning back to local control, at 91 percent containment

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Final Plumtaw Fire Update | Ed LeBlanc, Incident Commander

The Plumtaw Fire is now listed at 91 percent contained and is showing little heat. The fire management team is releasing resources so that they can aid with any emerging incidents around the geographic area. All roads and trails around the Plumtaw Fire are currently open.

Today marks the final day the Type 3 Incident Management Team will manage the Plumtaw Fire. Control of the fire will be transferred to the Unaweep Wildfire Use Module and a Type 4 Incident Commander. This marks the final daily update for the Plumtaw Fire unless conditions significantly change. Over the course of the summer, the public may see additional smoke from the fire area as interior pockets of fuel may continue to burn.  Additional information, if needed, will be posted on the San Juan National Forest Facebook page and on Inciweb.

As summer begins, it is important to be ready for fire season. Before a wildfire occurs in your area, create defensible space near your house. Remove flammable vegetation and other combustible material near your home. This includes cleaning gutters, roofs, and removing material under decks. There are many other things you can do if you are landscaping your yard or remodeling your home that may add to the safety of your home and the likelihood firefighters will be able to defend it.  For more information and tips about landscaping go to www.firewise.org.

Develop an evacuation plan for your family and assemble an emergency supply kit. Include supplies for pets, important documents and medications. Know where you will go in case of a wildfire and have a back-up plan.

Thank you to the public and to our partners for your support and patience during the Plumtaw Incident.

Weather and Fuel Conditions: Weather is warming throughout the week, with a Fire Weather Watch on Friday.

Closures and Advisories: The forest closures related to the Plumtaw have been lifted. Please use caution when in or around a burned area as hazards, such as snags and rolling debris, are still present. 

A temporary flight restriction (TFRs) is in effect over the Plumtaw Fire. TFR violations can disrupt aerial firefighting operations and may force fire managers to ground essential aircraft.  Wildfires are a no-fly zone for unauthorized aircraft, including drones.  If you fly, we can’t. http://knowbeforeyoufly.org

Stage 1 fire restrictions remain in place for the San Juan National Forest. See: https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/sanjuan/alerts-notices.


Wednesday’s update:

By Randi Pierce | Staff Writer

Containment on the Plumtaw Fire continued to be 77 percent on Wednesday, June 2, according to the San Juan National Forest.

The fire has burned 721 acres 7 miles north of Pagosa Springs, 2 miles west of the intersections of Plumtaw and Fourmile roads, with Wednesday’s update anticipating no spread beyond the current fire perimeter.

The fire was reported on May 17 and was estimated to have burned more than 600 acres that day. The cause continues to be listed as under investigation. 

The fire will transition back to the local management unit today, Thursday, June 2, according to Wednesday’s update. 

The Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team 2 took over management of the fire on May 20, and on May 28, command of the fire was turned over to a Type 3 incident management team as containment increased. 

Wednesday’s update states that the fire “showed little heat throughout the fireline perimeter. An engine found an interior hot spot late in the day and was able to add water to extinguish the heat. Interior hotspots have little chance of escaping the established fire perimeter because the fuel between the hotspot and fire edge has already burned.”

The update further indicates that firefighters continued to systematically examine the entire area for heat Tuesday — an effort that is ongoing — and the Unaweep Wildland Fire Module continued collecting fire and fuels data through unmanned aircraft system technology on Tuesday.

Also on Tuesday, a Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team began arriving. 

According to Wednesday’s update, the BAER team “will begin assessing the fire area and create a report on burn severity. The report will be used to create a rehabilitation plan to protect the natural resources in the area.”

The update further notes that fuels remain “critically dry” before stating the fire is anticipated to remain within the existing perimeter.

Closure order lifted, flight restriction remains

On May 31, the San Juan National Forest announced that the closure around the Plumtaw Fire area had been terminated, with the area reopening to the public on June. 1.

Wednesday’s update urges, “Please use caution as hazard trees and firefighting equipment are still around the fire area.”

A temporary flight restriction (TRF) remains in effect over the fire, according to Wednesday’s update.

“TFR violations can disrupt aerial firefighting operations and may [force] fire managers to ground essential aircraft. [Wildfires] are a no-fly zone for unauthorized aircraft, including drones. If you fly, we can’t. http://knowbeforeyoufly.org,” the update states.

Fire restrictions in effect

Stage 1 fire restrictions remain in effect for the San Juan National Forest, as well as much of the region, including the Town of Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County.

randi@pagosasun.com