Crews were wrestling several Colorado wildfires Wednesday, one near the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve started by an unknown cause, and two others sparked by lightning, officials reported.
The Tobin fire erupted Tuesday near Blanca Peak, Colorado’s fourth-highest mountain, near the entrance to Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. The fire’s cause had not been determined, but it grew from about 5 acres at 2 p.m. Tuesday to about 50 acres by 9 that night, the Costilla County’s Sheriff’s Office reported.
The fire size later was adjusted to 10 acres after a helicopter fly-over, said Chris Rodriguez, emergency response coordinator for the county.
Two firefighting airplanes and a helicopter were dispatched to help douse the blaze Tuesday.
About three dozen firefighters were making good progress Wednesday, Rodriquez said.
“As the crow flies, the fire is about 15 miles from the national park, but there are no closures in the area,” he said.
Just before 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, the county’s emergency management tweeted that the fire was 60% contained and holding at 15 acres.
A fire 10 miles southeast of Dove Creek about 80 miles west of Durango was sparked by lightning that hit two days before it was reported June 20.
The Doe Canyon fire has reached about 2,560 acres.
“The fire is at 85% containment, but that number is expected to increase today. July 15 is still the target for 100% containment,” Forest Service spokeswoman Lorena Williams said early Wednesday.
“Currently, fire crews are not actively fighting the fire because there are strong containment lines around it. The interior fuels will continue to smolder out.”
The other fire sparked by lightning was burning about 9 acres of Bureau of Land Management property in Fremont County as of Tuesday, the BLM said in a news release. By 6 p.m. Wednesday, the fire had grown to 40 acres.
Dubbed the Canyonland fire, the blaze was reported 9 miles west of Cañon City about 3:15 p.m. Tuesday. It was at 0% containment Wednesday night.
Fire crews couldn’t reach the blaze until late Tuesday, said BLM spokesman Brant Porter.
“The gamble oak is throwing off a lot of smoke. The fire is in a super isolated location, which is posing the biggest challenge for crews to gain access to it. There is a helicopter that is committed to work the fire and making bucket drops today,” Porter said.
Rugged areas north of the Arkansas River pose challenges for firefighters of the Front Range Fire Department and the Aviation Management Unit. No structures were threatened by the three fires.
Two Hotshot crews and a Type 2 IA crew will arrive on Thursday for ground work, Porter said.
The Gazette’s Liz Henderson contributed to this report.