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Lightning sparks 3 blazes

By Ann Butler Herald staff writer

Firefighters continued to respond to fires caused by lightning strikes Friday.

“We had three new starts on Missionary Ridge near Haviland Trail and Picnic Flats,” said Ann Bond, public affairs specialist for the San Juan National Forest. “They responded, but were driven away by rain and lightning.”

One of the fires was reported at one-tenth of an acre, and the other two were smoke sightings, Bond said. Firefighters are planning to go back this morning.

On Friday, firefighters also were called to several new lightning-strike fires on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation, including the Madrid, East Black Ridge and Spring Trail fires, each estimated at one-tenth of an acre.

Firefighters also hiked into Sam Borito Canyon to investigate a report of smoke.

“It was a single tree fire, and they got a line around it,” Bond said, “but they had to leave because of rain and lightning, too.”

Two fires that started Thursday on the Southern Ute reservation were contained Friday, the Pine Tree Canyon Fire at three-tenths of an acre and the Captain Beal Fire, near the New Mexico state line, at one-tenth of an acre.

On the Ute Mountain Ute Reservation, the Mancos Canyon Fire was estimated at 1¼ acres, with fire engines and a tender at the scene.

A flash-flood warning was in effect Friday, primarily in areas near the West Fork Complex fires northeast of Pagosa Springs. The National Weather Service is forecasting a continuing chance of rain into next week, so more flash-flood warnings are possible, particularly in areas that have experienced significant burn damage.

Also Friday, the Pagosa District of San Juan National Forest announced that it is lifting some trail closures put into effect during the West Fork Complex, all in the East Fork Road (Forest Service Road 667) area.

The road will reopen from the East Fork Campground to its eastern end at Forest Service Road 380 at Elwood Pass, as will the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (Forest Service Trail 813) from the East Fork Road at Elwood Pass north and east to its junction with U.S. Highway 160. The Silver Creek Trail (Forest Service Trail 567) also will reopen.

abutler@durangoherald.com

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