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Crews continue to work on Hawkins Fire

Incident command says fire is 80% contained
The cause of the brush fire that moved through McElmo Canyon on Friday remains under investigation. (Courtesy of Montezuma County)

The brush fire that started near County Road G.1 on Friday afternoon and worked its way northeast through McElmo Canyon has largely been brought under control. Crews from Cortez, Mancos and Dolores continued to work Saturday on the fire south of Cortez.

“There are still hot spots and they’re just doing mop-up,” said Montezuma County Office of Emergency Management Public Information Officer Vicki Shaffer.

Shaffer said the fire officially spanned about 133 acres and was 80% contained as of late Saturday afternoon.

Cortez Fire Protection District Wildland Coordinator Matthew Shethar is the current incident commander.

Fire crews will likely be at patrol status by Sunday.

No first responders were injured, and there was no damage to structures or livestock.

Several homes were evacuated along South Oak Street. Residents hurried to retrieve pets and personal belongings before vacating the area on Friday.

Those residents have since been allowed back into their homes.

Montezuma County Sheriff Steve Nowlin said the fire started about 1:47 p.m. Friday.

“The fire quickly spread to the north and east because of high winds,” Nowlin said.

The fire moved into the McElmo Creek area and was stopped west of County Road 25 and south of County Road H, Shaffer said.

Firefighters from Cortez, Dolores, Lewis-Arriola, Mancos and Towaoc responded to the scene Friday.

Firetrucks from Durango also arrived on mutual aid.

Law enforcement assistance was provided by the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office, the Cortez Police Department and Colorado State Patrol.

Helicopters continue to dump buckets of water on the fire. Two single-engine airtankers arrived from northern Colorado to assist Friday.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.