Tobin Fire: extinguished, 15 acres burned at foot of Mt. Blanca

There will be wisps of smoke for the next few days from the Tobin Fire, according to Paul Duarte. Road signs are telling drivers not to call 911 unless the see fire from somewhere other than Mt. Blanca.

BLANCA — The Tobin Fire that started Tuesday has not been contained as of Wednesday morning, but crews made progress in containment.

Paul Duarte, incident commander and division chief for the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control (DFPC) for SLV said Wednesday afternoon that crews did a great job and made a lot of progress in containment of the fire that he estimated had burned 15 acres. The size was downgraded after more accurate mapping was made of the burned area, Duarte said. The Costilla County Sheriff’s Office said late Wednesday afternoon that the fire was extinguished.

Duarte said the public will probably see a couple more days of wisps of smoke coming from the site while “crews mop” up the hot spots.

There were no structures lost in the fire.

At the height of the fire Tuesday afternoon, Duarte said there were six single engine air drops, one long tanker drip and one type 2 helicopter drops. There were also 10 fire engines and four fire tenders on scene.

He also commended the cooperation among agencies for the quick response Tuesday in keeping the fire from spreading. Assisting to fight the fire has been the Rio Grande Forest Service, Costilla Volunteer Fire Department, Alamosa Fire Department, Alamosa Ambulance, DFPC, from Costilla County the sheriff’s office, road and bridge crews, Office of Emergency Management, commissioners, and Alamosa County Sheriff’s Office.

Costilla County Sheriff Danny Sanchez said there were approximately 50 fire fighters on scene Wednesday and the evacuation that had been issued Tuesday afternoon was lifted yesterday morning.

Neither Duarte or Sanchez knew the cause of the fire.

However, Duarte urged the public to be alert to the dangers of fire. “Pay attention to what you are doing, because we are going to have some warm and dry days ahead,” he said.

Andrea Jones of the Rio Grande Forest Service, echoed Duarte’s comments about the cooperation among the department and to be careful with fire in the coming days. She added that the pre-fire season preparation was crucial and made the response smooth.

The Tobin Fire started just over a year after the third-largest fire in Colorado history, the Spring Fire that burned over 100,000 acres.

Correction: The Type 2 helicopter making water drops on the Tobin Fire below Mt. Blanca on Tuesday and continuing into Wednesday was actually deployed by the Colorado DFPC, not the BLM as previously reported. The Helitac team brought in by the copter was also a DFPC hand crew also based in Canon City.

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