Get Summit County information on wildfire mitigation here.
SUMMIT COUNTY — After scorching more than 600 acres, the Parkdale Fire, burning near Royal Gorge, is about 85 percent contained, fire officials announced late Thursday evening, estimating the cost of fighting the fire at about $978,000. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Restrictions on boating access to the Arkansas River have been lifted and residents and business owners in the area are returning to their properties. Two structures were lost during the fire, when a home and a barn burned Tuesday, June 22.
“Despite reduced fire activity, residents and visitors to the area should remain cautious and alert to possible hot spots or smokes that may develop within the burned area, said incident commander Todd Pechota. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Read more about the Parkdale Fire here.
More fire info and photos after the break …
On the edge of the San Luis Valley, the Medano Fire has burned about 5,300 acres in Great Sand Dunes National Park and on the adjacent Pike and San Isabel National Forest. National Park facilities are open, but parts of the San Luis Valley have seen pockets of smoke that could linger for a few days.
Fire officials said they are managing the fire with a confinement strategy aimed at preventing putting firefighters in harm’s way. The most active parts of the fire are on steep slopes where it would be difficult and “minimally effective to put in fireline,” according to the U.S. Forest Service.
“The hottest part of the fire near the peak of Mount Zwischen is a good example of this. Building fireline would require felling a swath of trees wider than a road, the agency said in a June 24 update on the Medano Fire. “Hazards include very steep slopes, dense trees that might burn and possible embers smoldering below, rolling rocks and logs loosened by the fire, and falling burned trees. There are better fire control options at lower elevation.” See more photos of the Medano Fire here.
South Fork Fire
In New Mexico, the 16,000-acre South Fork Fire continues to burn about 20 miles west of Espanola. The New Mexico health department has issued an advisory related to smoke from the fire.
In some areas, firefighters are reducing fuel loads by chipping wood. The fire is expected to continue to burn in pockets of heavy fuel within the containment area. More pictures of the South Fork Fire here.
The 14,800-acre Schultz Fire, burning about five miles north of Flagstaff, Arizona, is about 40 percent contained. More moisture in the air from an early monsoon push could help firefighters Friday morning, but only for a short time, as dry and windy conditions are forecast to return Friday afternoon.
Residents evacuated earlier during the fire have been allowed to return home, and the Sunset Crater National Monument has also re-opened. Helicopters worked the fire Thursday with water and retardant drops, helping ground crews contain the fire on its west flank. Firefighters are managing this fire with an eye toward full containment because of the proximity of homes and high-value recreational facilities nearby. Get more information here. More photos of the Schultz Fire here.
Information on all western wildfires is online here.
Filed under: forest fires, forests, Summit County Colorado Tagged: | Parkdale Fire, Schultz Fire, South Fork Fire, Summit County, Summit County Colorado, Summit County News, US Forest Servicee, Wildfires