Final updates issued on pair of area fires

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By Randi Pierce | Staff Writer

Officials released their final updates on a pair of regional fires over the last week: the Plumtaw Fire and the Bear Dance Fire.

Stage 1 fire restrictions remain in effect for much of southwest Colorado.

Plumtaw Fire

San Juan National Forest fire officials issued their final update on the Plumtaw Fire on June 2.

As of that update, the Plumtaw Fire was listed at 91 percent contained and 721 acres.

The Plumtaw Fire was first reported on May 17 roughly 7 miles north of Pagosa Springs.

According to the June 2 update, the fire was “showing little heat” and management of the fire was being passed to the Unaweep Wildfire Use Module and a Type 4 incident commander.

“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,” the update explains. “Additional information, if needed, will be posted on the San Juan National Forest Facebook page and on Inciweb.”

All roads and trails around the Plumtaw Fire are currently open, according to the update.

“Please use caution when in or around a burned area as hazards, such as snags and rolling debris, are still present,” it states.

Bear Dance Fire

The Bear Dance Fire broke out on June 3 on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation, near Bear Dance Road in Ignacio.

The Southern Ute tribal campus was evacuated, and some housing developments and homes in the area were placed on pre-evacuation notice.

Because of the fire, La Plata Electric Association (LPEA) announced that power was shut off for 3,235 members in Bayfield and 2,496 members in Ignacio “to allow fire crews to drop water and retardant safely.”

LPEA later announced power had been rerouted and restored to those members.

On Tuesday morning, the tribe announced that the fire was 100 percent contained and had burned a total of 89 acres.

“Fire crews will remain in the area to work on the phased reopening of the popular recreational areas,” Tuesday morning’s update from Communication Specialist Lindsay Box reads. “At this time the area will remain closed. As the area is deemed safe for use, announcements will be posted to the tribal website and social media. Please stay away from the area while crews continue working on the reopening.”

It further notes, “Individuals can use the walking trail from behind SunUte down to the Multi-Purpose Field, south towards BIA. Crews have set up a safety perimeter using cones. Please stay on the outside of the cones. Ute Park Road from CR 517 to Bear Dance Road remains closed.”

The update notes there were no structures lost and “crews were safe from injury.”

randi@pagosasun.com