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Ten-acre Cox Canyon Fire breaks out on Southern Ute tribal land

Multiple agencies respond to battle blaze

Durango Interagency Fire Dispatch announced at 3:33 p.m. on its Facebook page that a 3-acre fire started on Southern Ute tribal land in the area of Cox Canyon south of Bondad Hill.

By 6:12 p.m., the fire had grown to about 10 acres in size with smoke visible from U.S. Highway 550 and was spreading north and northeast, according to a news release distributed by the Southern Ute Tribal Council Affairs.

According to the news release, responding agencies include: the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Southern Ute Agency Fire Management, Durango Fire Protection District, the Zuni Interagency Hotshots and San Juan County fire crews. Additional resources include a helicopter and two air tankers that were actively attacking the fire.

The cause of the fire is under active investigation, the news release said.

“The Tribe is coordinating with local agencies to ensure the safety of the public and to minimize the impact of the fire,” the release said. “The Tribe is also working with oil and gas operators in the area to shut-in facilities in the vicinity of the fire in an effort to mitigate any potential impact from those operators to first responder’s ability to contain the fire.”

Stage 1 fire restrictions were put in place for the Southern Ute Indian Reservation on June 16. Those restrictions prohibit open and agricultural burning, campfires and fireworks.