Cooler temperatures and increased precipitation have aided in relaxing preventive measures for wildfires in southwest Colorado.
North of Dolores, the Plateau Fire’s closure area was lifted Wednesday. Those traveling through the area are cautioned to watch for burning material, heavy smoke and moving debris. Trail damage is expected due to increased erosion and San Juan National Forest advises avoiding the area during and after windy and stormy conditions.
The fire burned 19,634 acres since it started on July 22 and is currently 94 percent contained. Remaining pockets within containment lines will continue smoldering as fire activity remains at a minimum.
Farther south, Mesa Verde National Park is set to lift fire restrictions at midnight. Once it lifts, visitors will be able to have open and charcoal fires in campgrounds and picnic areas — the first time since May 27. Fireworks are always prohibited at the park.
In a release, public information officer Cristy Brown also cited improved weather conditions for wildfire prevention. Mesa Verde had several fires throughout the summer, ranging from smaller ones that were quickly contained, to the Moccasin Mesa Fire that burned 185 acres and revealed undocumented cultural sites.