Fire season 2018

Smoldering wildfires mostly halt after dry, harrowing month

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Here's a wrap-up of the status of several fires. Acrage, containment and personnel count are current as of Friday (July 13) morning.

Sardinas Canyon Fire, Taos County (18 miles from Taos)

By Wednesday, the relatively small and inactive fire burning about five miles from both the Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort and the community of Pot Creek was 50 percent contained.

The fire is only 2,337 acres, meaning its grown by only about 300 acres since July 4. The number of fire personnel attending the blaze has dropped significantly, down from nearly 200 at the high mark to only 38 people. Some teams are already working on recovery by repairing machine-dug fire lines and chipping downed trees.

While fire investigators have determined the Sardinas Canyon Fire was caused by a human, no further details have been released.

Morris Creek Fire, Colfax County (burning on Philmont Scout Ranch lands)

The fire was up to 1,671 acres but was 60 percent contained. The fire is burning on state-owned land, the UU Bar Ranch and the Philmont Scout Ranch. The boy scout facility has closed its rugged backcountry for the first time in the ranch's history due to the intense fire danger.

The fire didn't grow Tuesday (July 10), and no one reported new spot fires. "Helicopters did water bucket drops on the northern fire perimeter to assist with minimizing fire behavior," read the most recent press release.

About 200 personnel are stationed at the lightning-caused wildfire.

"I am grateful that we have not had any reports of drones flying over the area and just want to remind the public that if you fly drones over a fire area, we have to stand down our operations," said Dan Sullivan, air operations branch director.

Emily Fire, Mora County (North of Las Vegas)

This lightning-caused wildfire is up to 8,432 acres and is burning in the grassy and brushy understory of the mixed conifer forests about 25 miles north of Las Vegas. State Forestry is primarily handling the blaze, which has four crews, two engines and about 120 people assigned to suppress it. It is currently 80 percent contained.

Smoke will be visible from Interstate 25 and the surrounding communities.

Firefighters used "low-intensity" fire in some areas to avoid a high-intensity fire, such as one that burns in the crowns of treetops, moving through those same sections of forest. Crews are concentrating their efforts on the road into McIamar Canyon to the north and Arroyo Tierra Blanco to the south.

Spring Creek Fire, Costilla County, Colorado (about 35 miles north of state line)

The Spring Creek Fire ballooned with terrifying and dramatic speed since it started June 27. As of Wednesday afternoon, it was 108,045 acres and 91 percent contained.

Because the fire spread so quickly and grew so large, two national-level teams were dispatched to take command, meaning it is being controlled as two separate incidents. Combined, 1,283 people are working on suppressing the human-caused wildfire.

Some people are starting to return to their homes after a slew of evacuations. However, more than 100 homes burned down because of the Spring Creek Fire. Many homeowners will be left to sort through the rubble.

"While areas of the fire remain active, other areas of the fire are being evaluated for rehabilitation. Specialists are on site to begin determining the best course of action for long-term environmental recovery," read the July 11 press release about the fire.

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