The Moccasin Mesa Fire at Mesa Verde National Park continues burning at 185 acres after it started Saturday morning.
The fire spans atop Moccasin Mesa, covering an area in the southeast boundary of the national park and into Ute Mountain Ute Tribe land. The mesa was the site of 1972’s Moccasin Mesa Fire and 2003’s Balcony House Complex Fire that left burn scars slowing down the current fire’s growth. It’s currently 5 percent contained as efforts focus on establishing containment lines and direct suppression.
"Today is the vital day to see what it might do," public information officer Cristy Brown said. Firefighters are keeping an eye on weather patterns to study growth in the coming days.
Visitors will see minimal interruption due to the fire, except for the closure of Chapin Mesa picnic area and the B Cut parking lot for fire personnel use. Parts of the visitor and resource center parking lot are sectioned off for the same reason.
Multiple agencies are providing support for the fire, including Canyonlands National Park, the U.S. Forest Service and Ute Mountain Fire. Durango’s Type 3 Incident Command Team started leading operations Sunday.
The park is urging visitors to avoid stopping or slowing on roads to look at air support coming in for the fire. The use of drones is prohibited at the park at all times.
The lightning-caused fire is the largest to take place in the park this season. Several smaller fires were quickly contained earlier this year.