Release Date: Jun 27, 2017

The San Juan National Forest has announced new trail closures in relation to fire-management operations at the 412 Fire in the Ryman Creek area of the Dolores Ranger District about seven miles south of Rico.  The wildfire is burning in heavy dead and downed trees in steep and rugged terrain at 10,000 feet in elevation.  It is approximately five miles east of the Roaring Fork Trailhead within Montezuma County and is being managed to provide natural-resource benefits to the National Forest within predetermined boundaries set up in advance by fire officials.

As of today, the portion of the Colorado Trail between its intersection with the Clear Creek Trail and Highline Trail to its intersection with the Hotel Draw Road is closed to all public use.  In addition, the Big Bend Trail and Salt Creek Trail in the Hermosa Creek Wilderness are closed. (Please see all closures listed below.)

412 Fire Closure Map and suggested reroutes

The lightning-caused fire was discovered on Friday, June 23rd and is now reported at five acres after small burnout operations by ground crews yesterday to prepare fire lines for future burning operations. The prep work is slow and methodical, designed to set the stage for measured reintroduction of fire to remove heavy fuel accumulations across the remote area about five miles east of the Roaring Fork Trailhead in Montezuma County. No burnout operations are planned for today, but ground ignitions are expected to resume tomorrow.  Additional ground ignitions, as well as aerial ignitions by helicopter, will occur as weather conditions allow into the future.

A Type 3 Incident Management Team is in place with 65 total fire personnel currently assigned, including the Columbine Wildland Fire Module, Storm Peak Wildland Fire Module, Craig Hotshots, four engines, one water tender, a fire prevention officer and various support personnel.  Fire officials are conducting patrols in the Roaring Fork drainage along Forest Road #435 to the east and north along Forest Road #564 to Scotch Creek along Forest Road #550.  Undeveloped private land lies five miles downslopes to the west, but there are numerous natural barriers that will limit fire spread to the west.

“Firefighters will continue small burnout operations to contain the fire within predetermined boundaries by utilizing existing forest roads, trails and natural barriers, such as green meadows,” said Patrick Seekins, Dolores District Fire Management Officer. “Managing this fire to play its natural role within the ecosystem will provide for long-term ecosystem health and integrity of the forest.”

Updates on additional closures will be announced as the fire grows within the boundaries determined in advance by fire officials.  These boundaries will use existing forest roads, trails and natural barriers.

Closures (signs will be posted on the ground with suggested reroutes):

  • NEW TODAY - The portion of the Highline Colorado Trail between its intersections with the Clear Creek Trail (#547) and Hotel Draw Road (#550)
  • NEW TODAY - Big Bend Trail (#519), Salt Creek Trail (#559) in the Hermosa Creek Wilderness
  • Roaring Fork Road (#435)
  • Scotch Creek Road (#550.1) and Hotel Draw Road (#550)
  • Divide Road (#564)
  • Corral Trail #521
  • Salt Creek Trail, 733
  • Ryman Creek Trail 734/735

Smoke Impacts: Smoke is expected to be visible from Colorado Highway 145 at times. Travel restrictions will be posted on roads in the area, along with roadside signs alerting the public to fire operations. Night-time smoke may settle downslope in valleys to the south and west along Highway 145 in the Dolores River Canyon.