DURANGO – Firefighters continued to make good progress on building and securing fire line on the Air Park Fire on Wednesday and the fire is now 85 percent contained.
The line remaining to be built is located on the east flank in the vicinity of Pine Canyon. Helicopters assisted with water drops on hot spots in the steep, rugged terrain that was difficult for firefighters to access. The fire area received minimal rain on Tuesday.
A GPS of the fire Wednesday morning showed a slightly different perimeter than Tuesday but the acreage remains the same. A map of the fire perimeter can be found at inciweb.org.
A fire is considered contained when firefighters believe there is no chance of the fire moving beyond the fire perimeter. The estimated date for full containment has been bumped back to July 28 at 7 p.m. All resources except for two 20-person hotshot crews, a safety officer, a finance person and aircraft personnel were released or reassigned on Wednesday.
The Type 3 Team will transition management of the fire back to the Southern Ute Agency at 5 p.m.
There have been no injuries or accidents. The estimated cost to date is $576,000.UPDATED JULY 23 at 12 P.M.
No Containment of Air Park Fire Near Durango
DURANGO – As of 7 p.m. Sunday night the Air Park Fire was measured at 514 acres. The fire burned through the night but did not make any significant runs. A very small amount of precipitation fell over the fire last night. The fire has been backing down the ridge towards Basin Creek. There is no containment on the fire.
Approximately 50 firefighters are working the fire this morning and more crews are expected to arrive throughout the day. One helicopter will be assisting firefighters with water drops this morning and a larger helicopter is expected this afternoon. The heavy air tanker coming in from S. California had to turn around before arriving due to engine problems and no additional air tankers are expected at this time. Firefighters will be working to keep the fire west of La Posta Road, south of Nighthorse Reservoir, north of Indian Creek and east of Box Canyon.
Crews from Durango Fire and Rescue and Upper Pine Fire will be evaluating structures in Trapper’s Crossing as a precaution. The fire is approximately two miles east of Trapper’s Crossing. All pre-evacuation notices issued Sunday afternoon remain in effect.
Fire managers are evaluating the possibility of conducting a burnout operation in the “bowl” just to the east of Basin Creek Road near Lake Nighthorse. This will allow them to burn up to the fire, which is backing down from the ridge. Because of the steep, rugged terrain in the area this will be the best way for firefighters to control the fire on the west side. A notice will be sent to the media if the burnout happens.
Gusty winds and thunderstorms are predicted for late afternoon and early evening. Since fires in pinyon and juniper are typically driven by winds, an increase in fire activity is possible this afternoon. There is a possibility of heavy rain. Wind gusts could reach 18 m.p.h. and become erratic with the approach of the thunderstorms.
POSTED on JULY 23 at 9 A.M.
Airpark Fire Near Durango Grows
Pre-Evacuation Orders Go Out to 146 Residents South of Durango
DURANGO – The Airpark Fire, reported Sunday at noon, south of Durango, has grown to an estimated 500 acres. A pre-evacuation order has been put in place and reverse 911 call made to 146 residents in Trappers Crossing and areas northwest of the fire. The smoke column is quite visible from Durango.
On Sunday evening, fire officials reported that the fire has crossed over the ridge to the west and is headed towards Lake Nighthorse. Two heavy helicopters and two heavy air tankers are ordered and were in route.
The fire is burning in pinion and juniper on Southern Ute Indian Reservation land. The fire was a lightning holdover, which was reported about noon today about one mile southwest of Animas Airpark.
A Type III helicopter made water drops most of Sunday afternoon. Firefighters and engines on scene have responded from Durango Fire and Rescue, the U.S. Forest Service, Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute Indian Tribes and Jicarilla Apache Indian Tribe. The Durango Interagency Type III Incident Command Team is also en route.
A gas well pad threatened earlier by the fire has been shut down by Chevron, and firefighters are working with other gas companies to prepare in the case of other well pads being threatened in the area.
A temporary flight restriction order is in place for Animas Airpark.