Dry Lake fire continues to burn in Archuleta County, minimal growth

The lightning-sparked Dry Lake fire burning in the San Juan National Forest in southwestern Colorado reached 1,372 acres in size over the weekend and had not grown as of 2 p.m. Monday.

According to a news release from U.S. Forest Service officials, the fire started Aug. 1 on national forest land northeast of Bayfield, with smoke visible from U.S. 160.

As of Monday afternoon, 47% of the fire’s perimeter was contained.

Over the past week, fire teams focused on pre-burning control lines and excess fuel for the fire, officials said.

In a Monday news release, fire officials said they don’t expect the fire to grow further, but continued burning of interior vegetation will likely continue.

As the complexity of the fire decreased and containment rose, officials decided to transition fire management back to a local commander, Monday’s release said. During the transition, crews in the area will also decrease and be reassigned to other incidents.

Monday, crews focused on wetting and maintaining the firelines, according to a tweet from the national forest.

According to the news release, the fire holds environmental benefits and gave fire managers the opportunity to address the long-term risk of wildfires in the area by reducing hazardous fuels, encouraging native plant growth, increasing species diversity in the understory, and restoring ecological balance.

Smoke will continue to be visible to travelers along U.S. 160 between Bayfield and Pagosa Springs, and to some residents in Ignacio and Archuleta County throughout the coming week, the release stated.

According to the release, hikers are strongly advised to avoid First Notch Trail and First Notch Connector Trail due to lingering smoke and fire-weakened trees.

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