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By Ann Bond
Special to The SUN
So far this season, the Durango Interagency Fire Dispatch Center has responded to 28 fires on the San Juan National Forest.
Twenty-two of those consisted of abandoned or unattended campfires reported by forest protection officers on patrol and observant members of the public. Of the other six fires responded to recently, four were lightning strikes and two were human-caused near a powerline and railroad tracks.
Of the almost two dozen reported abandoned/unattended campfires, six occurred over the Memorial Day weekend, including two on the East Fork Road near Pagosa Springs.
Those identified as abandoning or leaving a campfire unattended for any length of time risk federal citations, as well as responsibility for costs associated with any resulting wildfire response.
The U.S. Forest Service encourages the public to report unattended and abandoned campfires, which can easily lead to a wildfire under current drought conditions. Those citizen reports can be called into the Interagency Dispatch Center at 385-1324.