Fire crews busy despite snow


Staff Writer

Despite the late season snowy weather, area fire crews stayed busy Monday with both wildland and structure fires.

At about 4:30 p.m. Monday, May 12, a call reported a single-tree lightning strike on a private ranch located off of County Road 500 (Trujillo Road).

The aptly named Snow Fire reached approximately one-tenth of an acre in size, said Christina Marquart of the Archuleta County’s Sheriff’s Office Department of Emergency Management.

“Even though it was snowing the fire carried through the pine needles without a problem,” Marquart said.

As the ACSO fire crew completed a line around the fire and concluded mop-up operations for the day, Marquart said snow was accumulating at the site, making crews comfortable leaving. The site received additional snow Tuesday, and the status of the fire was checked again Wednesday.

Monday night, a homeowner in southern Hinsdale County reported a house fire on the 700 block of Taylor Lane (located off of Forest Service Road 631, also known as Piedra Road) at about 9:30 p.m.

Due to its accessibility via Archuleta County, the area is under the jurisdiction of the ACSO’s emergency management department. Under a mutual aid agreement, the Pagosa Fire Protection District responded to the fire under the direction of the ACSO’s emergency manager.

According to John Gilbert of the PFPD, who served as incident commander, the PFPD responded in 40 minutes with seven fire apparatus and 20 personnel.

The crew worked through the snowy night on the house, until about 6 a.m. Tuesday morning.

Gilbert said the snowy weather affected where the PFPD was able to pull water from, affecting the response to the fire.

The homeowner had also made efforts to contain the fire prior to the PFPD’s arrival.

Gilbert reported that PFPD crews were able to save the structure.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, Gilbert noted.

While PFPD personnel worked on the house fire, Upper Pine Fire Protection District provided support to respond to other incidents in Archuleta County.

Following the incident, Gilbert issued a reminder to call any fires or incidents into dispatch immediately.

“Early notification is key,” he said.