Vallecito Fire grows to 1,000 acres

Smaller blazes burn near Rockwood, Pagosa Springs

The Vallecito Fire, burning at slightly more than 1,000 acres within the old Missionary Ridge Fire burn area, is being fed by dead and down trees. Enlarge photo

ROBERT WHITSON/Durango Herald

The Vallecito Fire, burning at slightly more than 1,000 acres within the old Missionary Ridge Fire burn area, is being fed by dead and down trees.

Three fires, aided and abetted by dry fuel and lack of precipitation, were burning Monday in La Plata and Archuleta counties.

Help could be on its way. The National Weather Service forecasts possible rain showers on Friday and rain and snow showers Friday night into Saturday.

The best chance for snow on the valley floor will be Saturday morning, meteorologist Tom Renwick said.

The Vallecito Fire, the largest at slightly more than 1,000 acres, is in the upper reaches of Red Creek. It is burning toward Miller Mountain.

Heavy dead and downed trees are feeding the fire, Charlie Armiger from Durango Interagency Fire Dispatch said.

The fire, within the perimeter of the 2002 Missionary Ridge Fire, is growing at about 100 acres a day.

Smoke will be visible every day.

The Steam Fire, about an acre in size, is located about two miles east of U.S. Highway 550 north of Rockwood.

In Archuleta County, the Coal Creek Fire, estimated at 20 acres, is about seven miles northeast of Pagosa Springs.

No structures are threatened, said Brandy Richardson also from Durango Interagency Fire Dispatch.

The fire, discovered Sunday, is consuming aspen and mixed conifer fuel. The cause is under investigation, she said.

Firefighters will try to contain the fire instead of taking direct suppression tactics because of steep, difficult terrain, Richardson said.

Helicopters will drop retardants as needed, she said.

daler@durangoherald.com

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