BAYFIELD — The lightning-caused 441 fire continues to burn slowly near Missionary Ridge between First Fork and Red Creek Trails, about five miles east of Durango, and the smoke has settled into the San Luis Valley.
The fire is currently estimated at 20 acres.
Two other fires in New Mexico could be contributing to the haze as well. The Francisquito Fire was started July 13 and is 20 acres. While the Rincon Fire started July 14 is only one acre. Both were started by lightning in the Carson National Forest.
According to the U.S. Forest Service in Durango, smoke was reported by local residents the evening of July 13. The San Juan National Forest initiated a Type 3 Team to confine and contain the fire within existing trail boundaries. One Wildland Fire Module and an eight-person hand crew were creating a safe anchor point and securing the southwest boundary by clearing fallen trees and vegetation that could carry fire beyond containment lines. Managing natural fires in this way moderates firefighter exposure, reduces future hazards, and enhances wildlife habitat by encouraging fire’s natural role of creating a diversity of vegetation types and tree age classes, the press release says.