NewsCovering Colorado


East Canyon Fire near Durango at 79% containment, near 2,900 acres

Posted at 9:26 AM, Jun 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-22 12:45:07-04

MANCOS, Colo. — The East Canyon Fire burning west of Durango is at 79% containment and about 2,900 acres, according to the Colorado Bureau of Land Management's update Monday morning.

The fire caused by lighting burning west of Durango and prompted evacuations of nearby residents on June 14, but some of those evacuations were lifted Friday.

Montezuma County officials said it is burning on Bureau of Land Management and private lands "in both Montezuma and La Plata" counties.

Crews continued to secure containment lines with the north and east sides of the fire fully contained. On Monday, they are looking for hot spots to extinguish on the south and west sides of the fire.

Wildland 4 and Utility 9 from the Colorado Springs Fire Department were deployed Wednesday morning to assist crews. The department said three CSFD firefighters and one Cimarron Hills firefighter will be there up to two weeks.

The Type 2 Rocky Mountain Blue Team is now in command of the fire response. This incident team is comprised of members from the Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service, US Park Service, and state entities. The Colorado Bureau of Land Management said "the decision to go Type 2 is due to the complexity of the fire,rugged terrain, and the number of aerial resources." There will be a transition to a Type 3 organization Wednesday morning.

Crews began working on the East Canyon Fire on Menefee Mountain just before 2 p.m. Sunday where it was initially estimated to be at 40 acres. Ground and air resources were ordered to help combat the fire as it continues moving north along the Cherry Creek side of Road 105.

Evacuation notices

A couple hours after crews responded to the fire, residents in the area of Road 46 and Road H were ordered to evacuate. Those in the Elk Springs Division and along Cherry Creek Road and Road 105 were also under the mandatory evacuation order.

Now, La Plata County residences that were previously under evacuation orders are under pre-evacuation orders. County officials said "this includes homes in the Cherry Creek area along County Road 105 and from Mancos Hill east to the Target Tree Campground. Residents can return home, but remain prepared to leave with little notice should significant fire activity resume." Those who evacuated on the Montezuma County side were allowed to return to their homes Thursday morning.

The Department of Public Health and Environment extended an Air Quality Health Advisory in southwestern Colorado through Friday morning due to the smoke from both the East Canyon Fire and Loading Pen Fire. The Loading Pen Fire, also caused by lightning, was reported Saturday evening about 23 miles northeast of Cortez, between Stoner and Haycamp Mesa.

For those with questions about the East Canyon Fire or need help with sheltering, you can call the hotline at (970) 385-8700.