Area fire update: Aug. 20, 7:40 p.m.

Photo courtesy U.S. Forest Service The Little Devil Fire, as seen from Chimney Rock National Monument Aug. 20. Photo courtesy U.S. Forest Service
The Little Devil Fire, as seen from Chimney Rock National Monument Aug. 20.

Little Devil Fire

The following update was issued by the Durango Interagency Fire Dispatch at 7:40 p.m. regarding the Little Devil Fire:

Start: Aug. 18

Cause: Lightning

Size: 70 acres

Percent contained: 20 percent

Number of personnel: 73, including:  Three handcrews, eight smokejumpers and nine miscellaneous overhead

Aircraft: One air attack, one Type-2 heavy air tanker, two single-engine air tankers, one Type-3 helicopter

Update on today’s activities: Firefighters diligently worked to expand and secure firelines to minimize the growth of the fire. Aerial support, including helicopters dropping water and fixed-wing aircraft using fire retardant, has played a major role in assisting firefighters on the ground in slowing the progress of the fire, especially in the areas of active fire and steep, rough terrain.  Fire resources made steady progress building and reinforcing firelines along the south portion and east flank of the fire.

The fire is burning at a ­low to moderate level of intensity, with fire behavior consisting of smoldering and creeping with isolated torching, but the fire’s location in very rugged terrain is making suppression efforts difficult.

According to Archuleta County officials, Upper San Juan Search and Rescue is on standby to help with any possible medical evacuation needs and the Archuleta County wildland fire crew is on standby to help the Pagosa Ranger District with any new fire starts.

Closures: Road closures went into effect Thursday, August 20, 2015 Forest Roads:  626, Devil Mountain Road, and 627, which access the Devil Creek State Wildlife Area, are closed for public safety.

Community concerns: The fire and smoke will be visible from U.S. 160 and Colo. 151 for days to come. Drivers are encouraged to keep their curiosity at bay and eyes forward on the road.

There are no immediate structures, private property or critical infrastructure threatened by the Little Devil Fire.

No official determination as been made concerning this weekend’s GECKO (Giving Every Child Knowledge of the Outdoors) event slated to be held in the area.

Weather: The area forecast indicates several days of warm temperatures, little precipitation and gusty winds with the possibility of isolated showers and thunderstorms.

Navajo River Fire

As of Thursday evening, the Navajo River Fire, burning east of Chama, N.M. on Jicarilla Apache Nation lands, was reported to be burning more than 300 acres.

The fire jumped a dozer line, but was still reported to be over a mile south of the Colorado-New Mexico state line.

Earlier today, 100-foot flames were reported on the fire, which started the day at about 200 acres.

Tips for dealing with smoke

Light to moderate smoke from fires in the western states, as well as local fires, is affecting the area.

This smoke may contribute to moderate concentrations of fine particulates throughout the region. Unusually sensitive people should consider reducing prolonged or heavy exertion.

Smoke from wildfires in the Southwest may cause intermittent periods of haze and restricted visibilities. Please be advised that the resulting regional air quality may cause certain individuals difficulty, especially during strenuous breathing or exercise. These individuals include but are not limited to:

· Elderly persons,

· Young children (especially under the age of seven),

· Pregnant women,

· Individuals with pre-existing respiratory or circulatory conditions,

· Those with smoke allergies,

· Individuals with respiratory infections like colds or flu.

All community members are cautioned to limit prolonged exposure. Some symptoms related to wildfire smoke inhalation include:

· Eye, nose, and/or throat irritation,

· Coughing or sore throat,

· Onset of symptoms related to pre-existing respiratory conditions,

· Trouble breathing, which may be a sign of a health emergency.

San Juan Basin Health Department advises that if visibility is less than 5 miles due to smoke from a wildfire or controlled burn, smoke levels have been reached that are potentially unhealthy. Individuals in our community, particularly those identified above, should take health precautions, especially if experiencing symptoms. If smoke is thick or becomes noticeably thicker in your area you should remain indoors or if possible seek out locations where air is filtered.

Tips to protect yourself:

· If you smell smoke and/or are beginning to experience symptoms, consider temporarily relocating to another area as long as it is safe for you to do so.

· Seek out locations where air is filtered.

· Close windows and doors and stay inside. However, do not close up your home tightly if it makes it dangerously warm inside.

· Only if they are filtered, run the air conditioning, your evaporative cooler, or the fan feature on your home heating system (with the heat turned off). Keep the outdoor air intake closed and be sure the filter is clean. Filtered air typically has less smoke than the air outdoors. Running these appliances if they are not filtered can make indoor smoke worse.

· If you have any HEPA room air filtration units, use them.

· Avoid exercise or other strenuous activities in heavy smoke. If smoke is simply unpleasant or mildly irritating, changing the timing of a few activities may be all that is necessary.

Avoid smoking and/or secondhand smoke, vacuuming, candles and other sources of additional air pollution.

Commercially available dust masks may seem like a good idea, but they do virtually nothing to filter out the particles and gasses in smoke.

As temperatures cool in the evening, inversion conditions worsen and smoke in low-lying areas may become thicker, especially if the outdoor air is still. It tends to be worst near dawn.

Close bedroom windows at night.

To prepare for nighttime smoke, consider airing out your home during the early or middle of the afternoon when smoke tends to be more diluted. Use your best judgment. If smoke is thick during the day, follow the tips above.

If symptoms persist or become more severe, please contact your primary health care provider.

Learn more:

Smoky conditions serve as a reminder to prepare individual plans to stay safe from wildfire and to prepare emergency kits in case of a wildfire emergency. For information about getting prepared, visit:

For more information on health safety visit: