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Lightning sparks small fires in area

By Ann Butler Herald staff writer

Lightning from a summer thunderstorm passing through the area has sparked several small fires.

“We have seven reported fires,” said Interagency Fire Dispatch Manager Kit Kemsley at about 6:50 p.m. “None of them is bigger than a tenth of an acre.”

Kemsley said four of the reports are from the Southern Ute Indian Tribe Reservation and others are near Pagosa Springs.

Two are south of Ignacio between the town and the New Mexico line, one is near Tiffany, two others are burning elsewhere on Southern Ute Indian Tribe land, and two are in Archuleta County, one on Cat Creek Road right before Pagosa Springs and another above Piedra Road on private property.

“That one is already controlled,” Kemsley said. “There is some precipitation with this storm, but it’s kind of spotty.”

She said no structures are threatened.

“We’ll have to check more (Tuesday), but nothing sounds like it’s really getting going right now,” Kemsley said.

The storm also forced Frontier Airlines Flight 1041 back to Denver.

“It’s my understanding that they turned back because of extreme crosswinds coming out of the east across the runway,” said Don Brockus, spokesman for the Durango-La Plata County Airport. “I would estimate we had gusts in excess of 30 mph at that time.”

Brockus said the storm has now passed through the area, and the airline is planning to refuel the plane in Denver and try again later this evening.

The flight’s status can be checked at www.flydurango.com.


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