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Fire Official on Burro Fire: “It’s Going to Take a Lot of Rain to Put This Thing Out”

Emily Rice
The Journal

Only Mother Nature can extinguish the Burro Fire east of Dolores. That was the message given by fire officials at a public meeting Thursday night in the town’s community center. Jeff Thumm of the Rocky Mountain Region Type 1 team managing the 3400-acre blaze said steep, rugged terrain makes it unsafe to send crews into canyons. Instead, the plan is to keep the fire from progressing southward and from affecting the Dolores River. Thumm warned that a few brief showers won’t help much, and extended monsoon moisture is needed. He added, “It’s going to take a lot of rain to put this thing out.”

Montezuma County Sheriff Steve Nowlin said after a 10-minute downpour in Cortez on Thursday, his office immediately got a call asking if the countywide fire ban had been lifted and if the San Juan National Forest were reopened. The answer to both questions is a resounding no.  In fact, area safeguards have been heightened. On Friday, the BLM Tres Rios Field Office implemented an emergency closure on a number of lands in La Plata County.

Also on Friday, new fire restrictions were adopted in southeastern Utah on BLM, national forest, national park and state lands and unincorporated private lands. That includes San Juan, Grand, Carbon, and Emery, counties and areas such as Canyonlands and Arches national parks and Natural Bridges and Hovenweep national monuments.

Gail Binkly is a career journalist who has worked for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Cortez Journal, and was the editor of the Four Corners Free Press, based in Cortez.
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