Saturday, June 30, 2012

Little Sand Fire Morning Update 6/30/2012

 Little Sand Fire Morning Update 6/30/2012

On Friday, fire crews assigned to the Little Sand Fire responded to two fires caused by lightning from a thunderstorm Thursday evening. This and other storms in the area produced over 1,000 lightning strikes in a six county area in south central Colorado. A number of these strikes were located in a broad band along the east side of the Little Sand Fire. One of these strikes caused the Dudley Fire yesterday which grew quickly to 6 acres before hand crews, engines, and two water-dropping helicopters contained it. Had it not been suppressed quickly, this fire had the potential to become a much larger fire. A second one acre fire was also contained. Overall growth of the Little Sand Fire was minimal due to favorable weather conditions and the type of fuel the fire is currently burning in.
With warmer and dryer weather on Saturday, fire resources will finish mopping up the Dudley Fire and stand ready to suppress any new fires. Even without further lightning activity there is a high likelihood that additional new fires will be found which were caused by lightning from previous days. The goal of fire managers will be to catch small new fires before they can become large and impact the management strategy for the Little Sand Fire. Crews will continue to monitor for spot fires from the Little Sand Fire along the Piedra River and in the Weminuche Valley to keep this fire from advancing to the south or east, and protect structures.
As fire activity picks up, early morning air inversions will continue to trap smoke in low lying areas causing limited visibility. Motorists are advised to slow down, turn on headlights, and use caution when entering these smoky areas.
There are several areas and roads closed due to the Little Sand Fire. The notices and maps associated with these closures can be found on the San Juan National Forest web site at http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/sanjuan/alerts-notices. In the Vallecito area, the Pine Piedra Stock Driveway is closed at the end of Beaver Meadow, and the East Creek Trail (FT 535) is closed at the East Creek Trailhead on Forest Road 852. All other trails in the Vallecito area are open.
Recreation areas along the Piedra River corridor leading to the Williams Creek Reservoir and ending at the Palisades Horse Camp are open for visitors with the exception of Williams Creek Campground. Guides and outfitters are open for business and rerouting their trips as necessary to avoid the fire. Pagosa Springs and the Vallecito areas are open for business as usual.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Two New Fires Suppressed Near Little Sand Fire

Initial Attack Near Little Sand Fire 6/29/2012

Suppression resources assigned to the Little Sand Fire attacked two new fires today that resulted from yesterday's lightning.  One fire east of the Little Sand Fire near the confluence of O'Neal Creek and the Piedra River was contained at less than one acre by firefighters and one engine.  A second fire was contained at six acres south of the Little Sand Fire near the confluence of First Fork Creek and the Piedra River by two heavy helicopters, crews and engines.

Little Sand Fire Update 9:00 am 6/29/2012


Conditions over the Little Sand Fire on Thursday resulted in very little fire spread. The exception was limited backing fire in the Davis Creek area along the Piedra River. All other areas of the fire remained unchanged. Personnel responded to a small lightning fire on Devil's Mountain approximately three miles from the south edge of the Little Sand Fire and successfully contained the new start.
Weather over the fire will be warmer on Friday with more sun and lower humidity. A drying trend is predicted which may result in more active fire behavior than experienced the last few days. Fire crews will continue to provide for structure protection in the Weminuche Valley, and watch for spot fires south of the Piedra River. A contingency fire line along the east side of the Weminuche Valley is being prepared in case the fire moves across the Valley. Crews will also be watching for new lightning fires from storm activity Thursday evening northeast of the fire.
One area of concern to fire managers is the early morning smoke inversion that frequent zones lower in elevation than the fire. One specific location is the area on Highway 160 between mile marker 122 and 137. This area is marked by electronic sign boards which warn of the smoke problem. In the early morning hours smoke is often thick enough to limit visibility. Motorists are advised to slow down, turn on headlights, and use caution when entering these smoky areas.
There are several areas and roads closed due to the Little Sand Fire. The notices and maps associated with these closures can be found on the San Juan National Forest web site at http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/sanjuan/alerts-notices. In the Vallecito area, the Pine Piedra Stock Driveway #524 is closed at the end of Beaver Meadow, and the East Creek Trail (FT 535) is closed at the East Creek Trailhead on FSR 852. All other trails in the Vallecito area are open.
Recreation areas along the Piedra River corridor leading to the Williams Creek Reservoir and ending at the Palisades Horse Camp are open for visitors with the exception of Williams Creek Campground. Guides and outfitters are open for business and rerouting their trips as necessary to avoid the fire. Pagosa Springs and the Vallecito areas are open for business as usual.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Little Sand Fire 7:30pm Current Activity

Overall activity was quiet today. Incident Operations reported some light moisture over the fire and generally cooler conditions. On the southwest perimeter, fire has begun to move west of the Davis Creek drainage into an area previously treated with prescribed burns. It remains north of the Piedra River.

Resources assigned to the Little Sand Fire assisted the San Juan National Forest with response to two very small fires caused by last night’s lightning activity.

Conditions tomorrow are forecast to be drier, and a Red Flag Warning will be in place due to the heat, lower humidity, and winds and possible dry lightning from nearby thunderstorms.

** Public meeting**
Vallecito Community Center
Thursday, June 28 - 6:00 p.m.

Little Sand Fire 1:00 pm Current Activity

Two new fires have been detected south of the Piedra River, that started from last night's lightning. As the afternoon has warmed up, one has become visible about 1/10th of a mile from Monument Horse Camp. Unaweep Wildland Fire Module (a smaller crew) and a local Pagosa Engine, have responded. It was reported to be a single log on fire. Activity reported out of Durango is a number of new starts as a result of the same lightning storm, which will likely be found as they begin to smoke in the afternoon heat. There are plenty of resources available to deal with them. 

Little Sand Fire Map June 27, 2012

Little Sand Fire Daily Update – June 27, 2012 8:00 AM

**Community Meeting - Vallecitos Community Center  - 6:00 pm June 28, 2012**

During the evening hours Tuesday the area adjacent to the Little Sand Fire received thunderstorms that produced dry lightning but little rain.  Although there was no lightning in the immediate fire area, adjacent areas did receive strikes.  Crews will be standing by today to provide an support for initial attack response to new fires and suppress any spot fires should they occur south of the Piedra River or east of the Weminuche Valley.  In addition to initial attack response, firefighters will continue to protect structures in the Weminuche Valley, confining the fire to the west side of the valley. 
Most of the Little Sand Fire activity Tuesday was in the vicinity of Davis Canyon and the Piedra River where the fire made small runs up the west and east slopes of Davis Canyon.  The fire is burning into a 2009 prescribed burn near the confluence of Coldwater Creek and the Piedra River.  The fuel in this prescribed burn area is Ponderosa pine with an under story of Gambel oak.  Fire managers are waiting to see what effect the previous burn has on Wednesday’s fire activity.
In other areas of the Little Sand Fire there was minimal fire activity.  On the west side, the fire continued to stay on the ridge between Coldwater Creek and Sand Creek and has not moved west toward the Vallecito area.  Over the east side of the fire, slopes west of the Poma Ranch continued to have slowly moving backing fires as the fire encountered aspen patches and meadow vegetation.
Weather over the fire today will moderate with temperatures between 84 and 88 degrees.  An increase in minimum humidity to 12 to18 percent and winds in the 8 to 12 mile per hour range will further help to moderate fire activity.  No Red Flag Warnings are expected today.  Smoke will continue to be a problem in areas adjacent to the fire with night time inversions continuing. Information on smoke densities can be found on links provided on the Inciweb site below to smoke monitors located at the Sportsmans Campground area and Piedra River, the State air quality site, and smoke health information.
Recreation areas along the Piedra River corridor leading to the Williams Creek Reservoir and ending at the Palisades Horse Camp are open for visitors.  Guides and outfitters working in the area open for business and rerouting their trips as necessary to avoid the fire.  The Poison Park Road (FR644), and the portion of the Piedra River Road (FR 631) that lead to the Poma Ranch are closed due to fire activity.  Other closures exist for areas immediately adjacent to the fire.  Closure information may be found on the fire’s Inciweb site.  Pagosa Springs and the Vallecito areas are open for business as usual.
Information on the Little Sand Fire may be obtained by calling (970) 444-2201 or from the following web sites: 
Archuleta County: http://www.acemergency.org/

Fire stats at a glance:
Start Date: May 13th, 2012
Cause: Lightning
Acreage: 22,440
Containment: 31%
Personnel: 201
Hand crews: 3
Structures Destroyed: 0


Cooperating Agencies: Hinsdale County,
Archuleta County, USFS, CSFS
Aviation: 4 Helicopters
Engines: 13
Dozer: 2
Injuries: 2
Cost to Date: $5.584 Million

                                        ###

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Little Sand Fire Current Activity 6:30 pm

Overall the fire looked good today and the Red Flag Warning did not develop the expected winds. Visibility was fairly good all around the fire today, but tomorrow morning is likely to be smokey in low lying areas. Thunderstorms have developed to the east and are producing lightning.
Little Sand Fire 2:45 PM Current Activity

Fire Operations report minimal activity on the Little Sand Fire so far today, except for the area around the confluence of the Piedra River and Davis Creek.  They are reporting the fire is making significant runs uphill on the west side of Davis Creek and is nearly to an area treated by prescribed burning in 2008. Fire behavior is expected to change at that point due to a vegetation change.  A heavy helicopter is working along the Piedra River to keep the fire north of the river and discourage spotting to the south.  While there is a Red Flag Warning, no thunderstorms are in the area, but there are signs of cumulus beginning to build.

Little Sand Fire June 26 Map


Little Sand Fire Daily Update June 26 - COMMUNITY MEETING


Community Meeting Vallecitos Community Center  6:00 pm June 28, 2012


A Red Flag Warning will be in effect over the fire from noon to the evening hours Tuesday because of the threat of dry lighting over the fire with gusty outflow winds and dry fuels.  Outflow winds could reach 45 miles per hour from any storm that forms.  
Tuesday Fire fighters will continue to protect structures in the Weminuche Valley, keeping the fire from advancing to the east , and keep the fire north of the Piedra River. Firefighters will also look for opportunities to engage the fire to the west and northwest.  Crews will work along the Baldy Mountain Trail, widening it in preparation for holing the fire there. Southwest morning winds will be light, increasing to 10 to 12 miles per hour with gusts to 20 as the day progresses.  Day time temperatures will be in the mid 80 degree range with humidity in the 10 to 15 percent.
Monday, the fire made runs on the east slope of Davis Creek drainage at the confluence with the Piedra River.  There were no more spots south of the Piedra.  Low intensity ground fire continued in the area above the Poma Ranch in the Weminuche Valley.  There was minimal activity on the north end of the fire as the fire encountered numerous aspen pockets.  On the western side, the fire continued to be confined to the ridgeline separating the Coldwater Creek and Sand Creek drainages. There was no advance of the fire towards the Vallecito area thirteen miles west of the fire.
During the afternoon on Monday, resources from the Little Sand Fire assisted in the successful suppression of a 10 acre fire near the Chimney Rock Archaeological area.  An air attack plane and a heavy helicopter were used along with personnel from Durango Helitack which were assigned to the Little Sand fire.  One of the helitack crew assumed the duties of incident commander.
Smoke dispersal around the fire will be poor in the early morning hours with improvement expected around noon as wind and temperature levels increase. Information on smoke densities can be found on links provided on the Inciweb site to smoke monitors located at the Sportsmans Campground area and Piedra River, the State air quality site, and smoke health information.
Poison Park Road (FR 644) remains closed to non-emergency traffic until further notice. The Piedra River Road (FR 631) to Poma Ranch is closed at the “Y”. A closure has been placed on an area to the north of the junction of the Piedra River and Coldwater Creek.  The closure includes adjacent trails.  Details on the closure may be found on the fire’s Inciweb site.  There are no closures in the Vallecitos area.

Day-use recreation areas near Williams Lake, and other Forest Service campgrounds in the area, remain open to the public. Private campgrounds and businesses in the Piedra area are also open. Guides and outfitters who normally work in the area around the fire have rerouted trips and are still in operation. Pagosa Springs and the Vallecito area are open for business as usual.

Information on the Little Sand Fire may be obtained by calling (970) 444-2201 or from the following web sites: 
Archuleta County: http://www.acemergency.org/


Fire stats at a glance:
Start Date: May 13th, 2012
Cause: Lightning
Acreage: 21,616
Containment: 31%
Personnel: 181
Hand crews: 2
Structures Destroyed: 0


Cooperating Agencies: Hinsdale County,
Archuleta County, USFS, CSFS
Aviation: 4 Helicopters
Engines: 13
Dozer: 2
Injuries: 2
Cost to Date: $5,163 Million


                                        ###

Monday, June 25, 2012

151 Fire (New Fire Near Chimney Rock) - 6/25 - 8:00pm

A new fire was reported by Chimney Rock volunteers at approximately 2 p.m. today.  Based on reports, the Air Attach plane from the Little Sand Fire was dispatch and arrived within 10 minutes.   The fire was found on the north side of Cabezon Canyon.  The fire was running up the side of the canyon towards one of the canyon's residences.  Engines, tenders, crews, a helicopter (a K-MAX from the Little Sand Fire) and a small air tanker were able to protect the threatened home and keep the fire to about ten acres.  The fire was started by a tree falling on a power line.

Cabezon Canyon residents who were at home at the time were given a pre-evacuation notification and told to be ready to leave within 15 minutes.  Residents that were not up the canyon were asked to wait at the bottom of the canyon, so fire fighters could work.  A full evacuation order was not given; fire fighters and aircraft suppressed the fire enough to allow residents up the road by about 5pm. 

As of 8 pm, fire fighters have made good progress and are mopping up.  Fire fighters will be in the area for the next few days.  The power in the area is expected to be restored sometime between 9pm and midnight.

151 Fire at about 3:30pm
Agencies involved in the fire suppression effort include:
Durango Helitack
Pagosa Fire Protection District
Los Pinos Fire Protection District
Upper Pine Fire Protection Distict
Pima IA Crew
San Juan National Forest
Southern Ute Tribal Rangers
Aviation resources from The Little Sand Fire
Archuleta County Sheriff's Office



Little Sand Fire 8:00 pm Current Activity


As of this evening, the westernmost edge of the fire remains at the top of Coldwater Ridge, with no major growth to the west. In the southwestern portion of the fire, where the majority of activity occurred today, fire continues to burn actively in the Davis Creek drainage but remains north of the Piedra River.

Air resources from the Little Sand Fire were sent to assist with suppression efforts on a new start located near Chimney Rock Archaeological Area and south of Hwy 151. The 151 Fire was declared contained this evening at 10 acres. 

Little Sand Fire 5:30 pm Current Activity


Activity continues in the southwest portion of the fire and is moving north and west in Davis Creek area. Helicopters are dropping water to hold the fire north of the confluence of Davis Creek and the Piedra River.  

Active fire has also been observed at the south end of Martin Ridge. Weminuche Valley has thick smoke but the fire has not spotted into the area. 

New fire start near Chimney Rock

A new fire started at approximately 2 pm, caused by a down powerline, two miles south of Chimney Rock and Colo. 151, in the area of Cabezon Canyon, southwest of Pagosa Springs, and  south of Chimney Rock Archaeological Area.  Chimney Rock Archaeological Area  was evacuated as a precautionary measure, but was later canceled, however since the evacuation was conducted in a timely manner before the cancellation, Chimney rock will remained closed for the remainder of the day.   the The fire is approximately 1 acre in size and three homes are currently threatened.  A helicopter, single-engine airtanker and engines are responding to the scene with additional resources on order.

Little Sand Fire 2:30 p.m. Current Activity


The smoke column continues to build over the Little Sand Fire and can be seen from Pagosa Springs and the Bayfield areas. The column is primarily from the southwest portion of the fire; it remains north of the Piedra River. Fire Operations specialists report that efforts are going well.

June 25 Little Sand Fire Map w/ Closure Area


Little Sand Fire Daily Update June 25


DURANGO INTERAGENCY FIRE DISPATCH

U.S. Forest Service w Archuleta County  w  Hinsdale County w Bureau of Land Management w National Park Service w Bureau of Indian Affairs w Colorado State Forest Service
Little Sand Fire Daily Update – June 25, 2012 8:00 AMSan Juan National Forest

The fire continued to advance slowly in most areas.  The greatest fire activity was in the southwest corner of the fire where it created three small spot fires across the Piedra River.  These spots were treated by heavy helicopters and had not moved at nightfall. The fire had little activity west of the Weminuche Valley and continued to move slowly down the ridge above the Poma Ranch.  On the west side, the fire did not move across the top of the Coldwater ridge between the Sand Creek and Coldwater Creek drainages.  The fire did not advance towards the community of Vallecitos west of Slide Mountain.
Fire weather conditions will moderate Monday with scattered clouds and a reduced chance of thunder storms.  Winds are predicted to push the fire from the southwest with the potential of erratic winds in the presents of thunder cells.  The day will be warm with temperatures in the upper 80’s; humidity will be 9 to 14 percent with good moisture recovery expected in the evening hours. 
Today, fire fighters priorities will be protecting the structures in the Weminuche Valley, keeping the fire from advancing to the east and crossing the Weminuche drainage, and keeping the fire north of the Piedra River.   Fire activity possesses the greatest threat in the Piedra drainage due to the possibility of spotting south of the river. This portion of the river is dominated by steep canyon walls making access difficult. Water drops from helicopters will be utilized to slow the advance of the fire front and to treat spot fires.  The fire is not expected to move rapidly in either the Weminuche or Sand Creek areas. Firefighters will also look for opportunities to engage the fire to the west and northwest.  Protection measures have been placed around the Granite Creek Guard Stations and the crew is being withdrawn for reassignment to other duties on the fire.
Smoke will continue to be a problem in low lying areas adjacent to the fire during the evening hours.  Inversions will lift by mid-day to allow better smoke dispersal.  Links are provided on the Inciweb site to smoke monitors located at the Sportsmans Campground area and Piedra River, the State air quality site, and smoke health information.  
Poison Park Road (FR 644) remains closed to non-emergency traffic until further notice. The Piedra River Road (FR 631) to Poma Ranch is closed at the “Y”. A closure has been placed on an area to the north of the junction of the Piedra River and Coldwater Creek.  The closure includes adjacent trails.  Details on the closure may be found on the fire’s Inciweb site.  There are no closures in the Vallecitos area.
Day-use recreation areas near Williams Lake, and other Forest Service campgrounds in the area, remain open to the public. Private campgrounds and businesses in the Piedra area are also open. Guides and outfitters who normally work in the area around the fire have rerouted trips and are still in operation. Pagosa Springs and the Vallecito area are open for business as usual.

Information on the Little Sand Fire may be obtained by calling (970) 444-2201 or from the following web sites: 
Archuleta County: http://www.acemergency.org/

Fire stats at a glance:
Start Date: May 13th, 2012
Cause: Lightning
Acreage: 21,616
Containment: 31%
Personnel: 181
Hand crews: 2
Structures Destroyed: 0


Cooperating Agencies: Hinsdale County,
Archuleta County, USFS, CSFS
Aviation: 4 Helicopters
Engines: 13
Dozer: 2
Injuries: 2
Cost to Date: $5,163 Million

                                        ###

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Little Sand Fire 7:30 pm Current Activity


Today’s red flag conditions and thunderstorms did not materialize as expected, so fire activity was minimal with little overall growth. The majority of today’s activity occurred in the southwestern area where it spotted over the Piedra River.  A helicopter was used to cool the three small spot fires and slow the edge of the fire which is approximately 200-300 feet east of near Davis Creek.

Little Sand Fire Activity Update 5:30 PM 6/24/2012

Most activity is in the south, with 3 spots across the Piedra. These are being kept in check with helicopters and the Storm Peak crew. They will continue to work 1 helicopter at a time until the end of shift. Not a lot of growth overall however due to the large perimeter the estimated growth today is over 1,000 acres.  All spots across the River are less than 30X30 feet.  All have been picked up.

3:30 pm Current Activity

Fire activity on the southwestern portion of the fire has increased. The fire spotted across the Piedra River. Helicopters responded quickly with water drops, and firefigthers are hiking in to build line around it and ensure it's completely out.
As predicted, thunderstorms are building to the east and southeast; wind and dry lightning are expected with these storms.
On other parts of the fire, thick smoke has been reported in the Weminuche Valley.

June 24 Little Sand Fire map w/ closure area

Little Sand Fire Daily Update June 24, 2012


Little Sand Fire Daily Update – June 24, 2012 8:00 AM – San Juan National Forest

Weather conditions today, include a Red Flag Warning with the possibility of strong erratic winds, which could pose a significant challenge to fire fighters.  According to the National Weather Service the fire area is in one of the best places to receive thunderstorm activity.  The storms are likely to produce dry lightning on their periphery with strong erratic winds.  Thunder storm activity and the Red Flag Warning are expected to begin about noon and continue to midnight.  A special emphasis will be placed on fire fighter safety in regards to the threat of lightning.
The Little Sand Fire increased from 18,439 to 19,566 (a gain of 1,127 acres) on Saturday.  Most fire activity yesterday could be characterized as slow backing fire with small amounts of single and multiple tree torching.  The fire continued to advance slowly to the north and west in Sand Creek, and to the southwest in the vicinity of Davis Creek and the Piedra River. Fire has reached the Piedra River and heavy helicopters were used yesterday to cool down the fire to reduce the chance of the fire spreading to the south of the Piedra drainage.  The fire continued to advance to the east backing slowly down towards the Weminuche Valley.   The western edge of the fire remains east of Slide Mountain and approximately 13 miles from Vallecito Reservoir.
Night time air inversions are creating heavy smoke impacts on areas adjacent to and down slope from the fire. Inversions will last until mid-morning. Wind patterns today will be erratic with smoke movement in direction of wind flow.  Links are provided on the Inciweb site to smoke monitors located at the Sportsmans Campground area and Piedra River, the State air quality site, and smoke health information.
Firefighter objectives for today will focus on confining the fire to the west edge of the Weminuche Valley so residents can return there to resume normal activity as soon as possible.  Structure defense actions will be taken when appropriate. With the expected wind conditions today, a major concern will be holding the fire north of the Piedra River.  Fire fighters will use heavy helicopters to help control the fire along the Piedra River to prevent the fire spotting to the south of the river.  A crew will also continue to implement structural defense measures at the Granite Peak Guard Station.  This operation is well in advance of the fire which is still about 13 miles south of the station.
Poison Park Road (FR 644) remains closed to non-emergency traffic until further notice. The Piedra River Road (FR 631) to Poma Ranch is closed at the “Y”. A closure has been placed on an area to the north of the junction of the Piedra River and Coldwater Creek.  The closure includes adjacent trails.  Details on the closure may be found on the fire’s Inciweb site.  There are no closures in the Vallecittos area.
Day-use recreation areas near Williams Lake, and other Forest Service campgrounds in the area, remain open to the public. Private campgrounds and businesses in the Piedra area are also open. Guides and outfitters who normally work in the area around the fire have rerouted trips and are still in operation. Pagosa Springs and the Vallecito area are open for business as usual.

Information on the Little Sand Fire may be obtained by calling (970) 444-2201 or from the following web sites: 
Archuleta County: http://www.acemergency.org/

Fire stats at a glance:
Start Date: May 13th, 2012
Cause: Lightning
Acreage: 19,566
Containment: 31%
Personnel: 181
Hand crews: 2
Structures Destroyed: 0


Cooperating Agencies: Hinsdale County,
Archuleta County, USFS, CSFS
Aviation: 4 Helicopters
Engines: 10
Dozer: 1
Injuries: 2
Cost to Date: $5,014 Million

                                 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Little Sand Fire Update

Air Ops update 5:30 PM:  I heavy helicopter is working the south end near the Piedra River, with a significant column.  Wind is favorable.  The north end of the fire is showing moderate fire behavior.  Activity is lower on north Martin Ridge.  South Martin Ridge is burning actively, with the fire making significant runs up the east side of Little Sand River and the west side of Martin Ridge with short range spotting. Wenimuche Valley is "socked in" with smoke.
Little Sand Fire 4:30 PM: 

Air Ops reports fire on south Martin Ridge (NE part of fire) is actively backing into Little Sand Creek with group tree torching.  The south part of the fire continues to back into the Piedra River with switching winds.  Two heavy helicopters are working the fire's edge to slow its progress toward the river.  The NW part of the fire continues to burn but less actively than other areas of the fire.  There are reports of ash fall last night in the Vallecito Reservoir area; it is believed this is from the Weber Fire near Mancos.
Little Sand Fire 2:00 pm Fire Activity Update

The fire is becoming active as the heat of the afternoon increases.  Air Operations reports the southern end of the fire has backed down to Piedra Creek and down along the cliff over Second Box Canyon.  It hasn't produced a column; there is a helicopter cooling off the edge.  The rest of the fire is relatively calm at this time with a bit of activity along the western perimeter around Sand Creek.


Little Sand Fire Daily Update – June 23, 2012 12:00 AM – San Juan National Forest

Fire activity increased significantly on Friday due to increased winds. The southwest corner of the fire continued to back slowly towards the Davis Creek Drainage and was near the Piedra River.  On the north, the fire spotted over the Mosca Road (FR 631) in several places and burned a total of approximately 80 acres.  To the west, the fire continued to back slowly toward the Coldwater Creek drainage.  On the east, the fire was backing slowly down into the Weminuche Valley in several places.  The western edge of the fire remains east of Slide Mountain and approximately 13 miles from Vallecito Reservoir.
Due to fire activity smoke levels may increase. Night time air inversions are causing smoke to build in areas down slope from the fire.  Shifting winds will effect the direction of the smoke from any column developing during the day; however smoke drift will be primarily to the northeast but could shift to the north or south depending on wind.  Links are provided on the Inciweb site to smoke monitors located at the Sportsman Campground area and Piedra River, the State air quality site, and smoke health information.  The monitors will provide information on smoke concentrations.
The fire weather for the weekend is expected to provide variable and erratic wind conditions with day time temperatures over the fire in the 78 to 83 degree range.  Relative humidities are expected to rise to the 13 to 18 percent range.  There is a chance of scattered thunderstorms, with the possibility of dry lighting.  No rain is predicted. Thunder cells are a concern because they bring increased erratic winds that can lead to dangerous fire activity
Firefighters will continue to implement defensive actions around structures in the Weminuche Valley and evaluate opportunities to take action on the spot fires north of the Mosca Road.  Measures are being planned to keep the fire north and west of the Piedra River and east of Coldwater Creek.  A crew has also been assigned to implement structural defense measures for the Granite Peak Guard Station.  The Guard Station is not immediately threatened.
Poison Park Road (FR 644) remains closed to non-emergency traffic until further notice. The Piedra River Road (FR 631) to Poma Ranch is closed at the “Y”. However, day-use recreation areas near Williams Lake, and other Forest Service campgrounds in the area, remain open to the public. Last night new trail closures were placed on trails in the vicinity of the junction of Coldwater Creek and the Piedra River. Portions of the First Fork Trail (TR 538), Devil Mountain Trail(601), Second Box Trail (TR 596), and the Piedra Stock Trail (TR 538) are closed.  Detailed trail closure information may be found on the fire’s Inciweb site
At this time, most campgrounds and businesses in the Piedra area are open. Guides and outfitters who normally work in the area around the fire have rerouted, and are still in operation.
Alerts will be posted to www.inciweb.org and the www.acemergency.org website as fire behavior and significant events occur.

For Little Sand Fire Information, call (970) 444-2201. Or visit Websites: 
Archuleta County: http://www.acemergency.org/


Fire stats at a glance:
Start Date: May 13th, 2012
Cause: Lightning
Acreage: 18,439
Containment: 34%
Personnel: 179
Hand crews: 2
Structures Destroyed: 0


Cooperating Agencies: Hinsdale County,
Archuleta County, USFS, CSFS
Aviation: 4 Helicopters
Engines: 10
Dozer: 1
Injuries: 2
Cost to Date: $4.917 Million

Little Sand Fire Saturday 6-23 Morning smoke report

Due to yesterday's increased fire activity and resulting smoke, low lying areas around the fire will likely experience smoke this morning, quite heavy in some areas, until the inversion lifts. The smoke will be in the Piedra area, (especially anywhere south of the Piedra River Drainage), Durango, Sportsman's Campground, the Weminuche Valley and north in the Poison Park area.
[

Friday, June 22, 2012

Little Sand Fire Update 8:30 PM:  

Air operations reports that the fire made significant gains today.  The southern portion of the fire continued to back toward the Piedra River until shaded.  The fire has crossed the 631 Road to the north in many places.  Tomorrow brings an increasing chance of dry thunderstorms with gusty, erratic winds which will increase fire behavior.
Little Sand Fire

6:00 Activity Update:  The south portion continues to back toward the Piedra River, with  helicopter bucket drops being used to cool the fire so it approaches more slowly.  Most activity is in the upper Sand Creek drainage.  There are spots across the 631 Road.  The smoke column is bending over  the Weminuche Valley.
Little Sand Fire

4:30 Fire Activity Update The Little Sand Fire is continuing to be fairly active this afternoon with more wind on the fire than yesterday. The north end of the fire is most active with Upper Sand Creek and upper Little Sand Creek putting up significant columns of smoke.  It is still west of Little Sand Creek. There is another column building 1 mile north of the confluence of Weminuche Creek & Little Sand Creek and the smoke is laying over the Weminuche Valley.  The southern end continues to back toward the Piedra River
 3:30 pm Little Sand Fire Update
There is a large smoke column developing about 1 mile north of the confluence of Weminuche Creek and the Little Sand River. The fire is moving east, however it has not reached the Little Sand River. To the south, the fire has crossed Coldwater stock trail and continues to back down to the Piedra River. The fire has not crossed the 631 road but it is fairly active on the ridge west of the Weminuche Valley.  The wind is blowing out of the west, southwest so communities  east and northeast of the fire may experience smoke.
Little Sand Fire
1:30 pm Fire Update. Little Sand Fire Air Operations reports most of the activity right now is in the SW as the fire backs towards the Piedra River. There is also increased activity in the No Name Bowl to the north. Not much going on in the Upper Sand Creek area.

DURANGO INTERAGENCY FIRE DISPATCH

U.S. Forest Service w Archuleta County  w  Hinsdale County w Bureau of Land Management w National Park Service w Bureau of Indian Affairs w Colorado State Forest Service
Little Sand Fire Daily Update – June 22, 2012 7:00 AM – San Juan National Forest

During the last twenty four hours the fire has grown 1293 acres and is now 17,280 acres. Fire activity will continue along the North Fork of Sand Creek creating a smoke column shading the Weminuche Valley; activity in the Little Sand Creek area is also expected to pick up. Additionally, the southwest edge of the fire is expected to move further towards the Second Box Canyon section of the Piedra River.  Crews are in the area scouting for places to hold the fire north of the Piedra River. Smoke from the fire is expected to blow to the northeast.
Smoke is likely to continue to be a problem in low lying areas in the early morning.  Shifting winds will effect the direction of the smoke from any column developing during the day.  Links are provided to smoke monitors located at the Sportsman Campground area and Piedra River on the fire Inciweb site.  The monitors will provide information on smoke concentrations in these areas.
The fire weather forecast is showing a change this weekend that could result in dry thunderstorms. Firefighters will be watching for these changing conditions, as they may bring strong, erratic winds and lightning. Temperatures on the fire are expected to be in the mid 80’s with relative humidity between 8 and 13 percent.  Winds from the southwest are forecast with potential gusts to twenty-five miles per hour.
Point protection continues for the two ranches in the Weminuche Valley that were evacuated. Forest Service Road 644 (Poison Park Road) remains closed to non-emergency traffic until further notice. The Piedra River Road (FR 631) to Poma Ranch is also closed at the “Y”. However, day-use recreation areas up to Williams Lake remain open to the public.
At this time, most campgrounds and businesses in the Piedra area are open. Guides and outfitters who normally work in the area around the fire have rerouted, and are still in operation.
Alerts will be posted to www.inciweb.org and the www.acemergency.org website as fire behavior and significant events occur.
For Little Sand Fire Information, call (970) 444-2201. Or visit Websites:  www.acemergency.org  and www.inciweb.org

Fire stats at a glance:
Start Date: May 13th, 2012
Cause: Lightning
Acreage: 17,280
Containment: 30%
Personnel: 213
Hand crews: 2
Structures Destroyed: 0


Cooperating Agencies: Hinsdale County,
Archuleta County, USFS, CSFS
Aviation: 4 Helicopters
Engines: 10
Dozer: 1
Injuries: 2
Cost to Date: $4.8 Million

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