Crater Fire declared "contained’ |

Crater Fire declared "contained’

Daily Staff Report

The 1,232-acre Dotsero Crater Fire was declared under control Wednesday by firefighters, who had circled the blaze by 7 p.m. Tuesday.

“The engines and crew are all ready to go this morning,” said Patricia McGuire, fire information officer. “But the engines are going to stay in the area because fire are popping up all over the place.”

In the late 1980s, local Bureau of Land Management resource managers ignited a prescribed fire in the area burned by the Dotsero Crater Fire, said a release from the Upper Colorado River Interagency.

At the time of the prescribed burn, the vegetation in the area was a mix of pinon, juniper and sagebrush. The objective of the prescribed fire was twofold: to improve the forage conditions for livestock and wildlife; and to improve the watershed, the release said.

The burn was successful.

The burned-out area, however, had come back as grass and forbs – an added benefit in terms of how it aided in the suppression of the Dotsero Crater Fire. Indeed, it reduced fire behavior.

“A burn in that area will do the wildlife, livestock and watershed a lot of good because it will result in lots of new growth of grasses and forbs,” said retired BLM employee Mike McGuire, who planned and aided in the ignition of the prescribed burn.

Crews also were expected to reinforce the line and continue mopping up hot spots and other problem areas Wednesday. The fire, one and a half miles northeast of Dotsero, started Friday afternoon and fanned by a strong wind burned most of its acreage that day and evening.

Grand Junction requested the engines remain close because of lightning storms that have caused some disturbance and outbreaks of fires in and around that area, McGuire said.

“The lightning from these storms are causing fire to pop up in other areas but we’re not seeing anything locally now,” she said.

Four 20-person hand crews, six engines, two water tenders and one air tanker are continuing to work on the fire, while other crews are being released.

Eagle County Road 51 and BLM Road 8460 remain closed to the public. Fire officials said the fire danger continues to be “extreme.”

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