Fire activity on the Little Sand Fire increased Friday as temperatures warmed and humidity became lower due to the decreased presence of thunderstorms in the area. For the first time in several days smoke columns from the fire were visible from Pagosa Springs. Fire crews continued to mop up the Dudley Fire located two miles southeast of the Little Sand Fire. They also watched for spot fires from the increased activity within the containment lines of the Little Sand Fire. Very little fire movement was evident. Fire crews from the Little Sand Fire did not respond to any new fires, although the possibility of hold over fires from recent lightning still continues.
Today fire crews will finish mopping up the Dudley Fire and return to assisting others in monitoring for spot fires from the Little Sand Fire on the east and south flanks of the fire. Structure protection will continue in the Weminuche Valley. Fire fighters will also assist the San Juan National Forest as necessary in responding to new fires.
Although the Little Sand Fire has not changed its boundaries significantly in several days the fire is far from contained. On Friday fire personnel noted smoke in an area which had burned in the early stage of the fire. This area had been considered “out” and of low risk by most fire managers. As the weather warms there is a danger that areas such as these may appear and, under the right conditions, re-burn through sections of the fire which had previously been burned by low intensity ground fire. The ground fire did not burn the overhead canopy but dried it out, making it susceptible to re-burn.
Recreation areas along the Piedra River corridor leading to the Williams Creek Reservoir and ending at the Palisades Horse Camp are open for visitors with the exception of Williams Creek Campground. Guides and outfitters are open for business and rerouting their trips as necessary to avoid the fire. Pagosa Springs and the Vallecito areas are open for business as usual.
There are several areas and roads closed due to the Little Sand Fire. The notices and maps associated with these closures can be found on the San Juan National Forest web site athttp://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/sanjuan/alerts-notices. In the Vallecito area, the Pine Piedra Stock Driveway is closed at the end of Beaver Meadow, and the East Creek Trail (FT 535) is closed at the East Creek Trailhead on Forest Road 852. All other trails in the Vallecito area are open.
|Date of Origin||Sunday May 13th, 2012 approx. 04:00 PM|
|Location||13 miles NW of Pagosa Springs|
|Incident Commander||Wally Bennett|
|Estimated Containment Date||Friday July 27th, 2012 approx. 12:00 AM|
|Fuels Involved||10 Timber (litter and understory)Timber, litter, and understory. Dry mixed conifer and hardwoods. Fuel models 9 and 10|
|Fire Behavior||Slow backing fire in 2008 rx burn unit. Low to moderate surface fire with occasional group and single tree torching, short range spotting.|
|Significant Events||Supported forest IA with helicopter and crew.|
|Planned Actions||Continue structure protection in the Weminuche Valley, patrol,monitor for spot fires south of the Piedra River. Support local IA as requested.|
|Remarks||Acreage estimate is low due to limited to no access to the portion of the fire perimeter that is spreading and no IR flights in last two days.|
|Wind Conditions||10-14 mph W|