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Lightning causes East Round Top Fire southwest of Durango

Fire grew to 10½ acres as of Saturday night
Fire officials say a lightning strike is the cause of a 10-acre fire that broke out Saturday southwest of Durango. (Durango Herald file)

Lightning was declared to be the cause of the East Round Top Fire that started Saturday in southern La Plata County.

The fire scorched about 5 acres by 5 p.m. and had grown to 10½ acres by Saturday night, according to Southern Ute Agency Fire Management. The fire was burning in a remote area about 6 miles west of Sunnyside Elementary School.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs, Southern Ute Agency Fire Management, Los Piños Fire Protection District, Fort Lewis Mesa and Durango fire crews helped fight the fire.

The agencies were aided by two single-engine air tankers, a helicopter and hand crews from Oregon and Idaho. Southern Ute Duty Officer John Gilbert said firefighters were able to build a fire line and stop the fire’s growth with help from nighttime showers.

“I would say by the end of today (Sunday), we're looking at that at 100% containment,” Gilbert said.

He said the fire is likely the result of a lightning strike from Friday night that ignited Saturday morning. Fire fuels include pinon, juniper and oak. Fire agencies will continue to monitor the conditions and respond as necessary.

Stage 1 fire restrictions are enacted on Southern Ute lands and will remain in effect until conditions improve.

tbrown@durangoherald.com

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