Firefighters continue monitoring Sand Creek Fire

By Randi Pierce
Staff Writer

The Sand Creek Fire, located 21 miles northwest of Pagosa Springs, in the Piedra Special Management Area, had burned 88 acres as of late Wednesday morning.

Firefighters are continuing to monitor the fire until they can safely engage it, a Wednesday update from the fire’s management team indicates, with the “dense layer of fallen trees and steep terrain, coupled with the slow movement of the fire” dictating modified firefighting tactics.

The update notes that, as of Wednesday, fire activity on the Sand Creek Fire “remains light to moderate as it creeps within thick slash. Light smoke is intermittently visible where heavy fuels smolder and burn away.”

On Tuesday, the report states, considerable personnel were released from the Sand Creek Fire to be available to assist in other areas of the southwest.

On Wednesday, crews were set to scout trails south and west of the fire for conditions that may necessitate additional firefighting resources, according to the update. A snowpack measuring station north of the Sand Creek Fire was slated to be inspected as part of further assessment and contingency plans. 

The update indicates that firefighters also planned to utilize unmanned aerial systems to monitor the fire’s progression Wednesday.

A forest closure remains in effect around the fire area. The full text and a map of the closure can be found at: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/closures/6790/.

The update also notes that a temporary flight restriction is in place over the Sand Creek Fire and reminds that wildfires are a “No Drone Zone.” 

“If you fly, we can’t. Every time a drone is spotted near the fire all aircraft are grounded until we can be sure the drone is clear of the area. For more information, visit http://knowbeforeyoufly.org,” the update states.

This story was posted on July 2, 2020.