Little Sand Fire Update July 2, 2012
Incident: Little Sand Wildfire
The Little Sand Fire grew 820 acres Sunday as weather conditions changed to support more active fire conditions. Most of the growth was in an area immediately north of the confluence of the Piedra River and First Fork Creek. The majority of the fire activity was in Ponderosa pine forest with a Gambel oak under story. Additional fire activity occurred on the northwest portion of the fire where a few small pockets of unburned vegetation burned. Speaking of today's fire activity Fire Behavior Analyst Mike Locke stated "the fire is doing what we expected it would do." Crews from the Little Sand Fire completed mop up on the Dudley Fire which was declared controlled.
Fire weather on Monday will continue to support active fire behavior with no significant threat of thunderstorms. Fire crews will be watching several areas which continue to be of concern. It is expected that a small section of the fire will reach the meadow in a portion of the Weminuche Valley which is relatively narrow. Crews will be prepared to engage the fire if it spots over to the east side of the Valley. Crews will also be watching the south end of the fire to assure that the activity at the junction of the Piedra River and First Fork Creek does not spot across to the south side of the Piedra. Structure protection will continue for homes in the Weminuche Valley.
Smoke will continue to hang in low lying areas during the early morning hours. Areas such as the intersection of Highway 160 and the Piedra River drainage are particularly prone to this problem. Motorists are advised to slow down, turn on headlights, and use caution when entering smoky areas.
Recreation areas along the Piedra River corridor leading to the Williams Creek Reservoir and ending at the Palisades Horse Camp are open for visitors with the exception of Williams Creek Campground. Guides and outfitters are open for business and rerouting their trips as necessary to avoid the fire. Pagosa Springs and the Vallecito areas are open for business as usual.
There are several areas and roads closed due to the Little Sand Fire. The notices and maps associated with these closures can be found on the San Juan National Forest web site at http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/sanjuan/alerts-notices. In the Vallecito area, the Pine Piedra Stock Driveway is closed at the end of Beaver Meadow, and the East Creek Trail (FT 535) is closed at the East Creek Trailhead on Forest Road 852. All other trails in the Vallecito area are open.
Fire Statistics at a Glance:
Start Date: May 13th, 2012 Cause: Lightning Acreage: 24,400
Containment: 35% Personnel: 211 Hand Crews: 3
Structures Destroyed: 0 Aviation: 4 helicopters Engines: 13
Dozers: 1 Injuries: 2 Cost to Date: $6.618 Million
Cooperating Agencies: Hinsdale County, Archuleta County, USFS, CSFS