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Update on the 441 Fire on Missionary Ridge

The weather pattern that brought smoke into Southwest Colorado over the past few days will continue and could bring more smoke from fires in Arizona and New Mexico. The amount of smoke will depend on how active those fires continue to be. The more actively a fire burns and the more fuel it consumes, the more smoke it will generate.

Meanwhile in our area, a small team of firefighters continues to work to contain the approximately 50-acre 441 Fire burning in the Missionary Ridge area between Durango and Lemon Reservoir. Firefighters are planning some “burnout” operations along the First Fork Trail in order to use that trail to help confine the fire. Using an existing break like a trail, road, or a ridge top, firefighters carefully ignite fuels along those features in order to widen the break ahead of the advancing wildfire.

The burnout will produce visible smoke on Missionary Ridge and along the Florida River corridor beginning around mid morning. “The 441 Fire smoke should rise up to about 9000 feet and be carried due east Thursday,” says Incident Meteorologist Tim Mathewson. Mathewson added that the amount of smoke being produced by the low-intensity 50-acre 441 Fire is just a small fraction of that created when thousands of acres burn in high-intensity fires. The 441 Fire is being allowed to burn within a defined area of about 2000 acres to decrease the chances of future high-severity fires in this area. Approximately 30 firefighters and support personnel are on scene to ensure the fire stays within the boundaries they have set for it. With these burnouts, the fire perimeter may grow to approximately 250 acres by the end of the day.

For the safety of firefighters and the public, fire managers have implemented an Area Closure. The closure restricts public access from First Fork and Red Creek Trails, as well as Missionary Ridge Trail between the intersections with First Fork and Red Creek Trails. For a map of the closure area and complete details, visit Inciweb:For a map of the closure area and complete details, see special order SJ-2019-13.

For questions or concerns, please contact San Juan Fire Information at 970-403-5118, or follow us at: https://twitter.com/SanJuanNF or https://www.facebook.com/SanJuanNF/ and the Forest Website at:
http://www.fs.usda.gov/sanjuan/

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