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Fire that burned along entrance road to Great Sand Dunes National Park is fully contained

great sand dunes fire_courtesy of Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
Posted at 4:35 PM, May 18, 2022

UPDATE | Thursday, 3:40 p.m. — The Medano Fire, which broke out Wednesday along the entrance road to the Great Sand Dunes National Park, is now 100% contained, according to the park. Crews are continuing to monitor the area and check for hotspots. The park is open.

Medano Fire near Great Sand Dunes National Park May 19 2022

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Firefighters are working to contain and extinguish a fire that started along the entrance road to the Great Sand Dunes National Park Wednesday afternoon.

The fire started around 3 p.m. when lightning struck the ground about a quarter-mile from the entrance road in the grasslands, park staff said.

The Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control, Alamosa Fire Department, Mosca-Hooper Volunteer Fire Department and the San Luis Valley Interagency Fire Management Unit are responding to the fire, along with national park staff.

As of 9:40 p.m., the fire is 306 acres and 80% contained. It burned through brush and grass to the west of the park entrance road, according to park officials. No structures were impacted.

The entrance is closed to inbound traffic and the visitor center is closed. The fire is burning within park boundaries southwest of the dunes.

As of 8:15 p.m., the park reopened for inbound traffic.

The region will see high fire danger on Thursday, according to the National Weather Service out of Pueblo. Much of central southern Colorado is under a red flag warning from 11 a.m. through 9 p.m. Wind gusts are expected to reach 45 mph.