Sand Creek Fire Slowed by Retardant Drops

Pagosa Springs, Colo., June 22, 2020 – Large air tankers made 15 retardant drops over the Sand Creek Fire Sunday and a VLAT, Very Large Air Tanker, made one drop as well, effectively slowing the spread of the fire. It is now estimated at 60 acres. The retardant will buy firefighters time to develop tactics to successfully contain the fire in the days ahead. One hundred ten people are now working on the fire. “This is very difficult ground for firefighting,” says Incident Commander trainee Tracy Milakovic, “and we need to carefully assess where we can most safely and effectively engage.” Hotshot crews and Wildland Fire Modules, another type of specialized firefighting team, are in the area and working to identify the best places to construct fire lines, as well as monitoring the fire’s behavior and movement.

Heavy equipment has been ordered to assist in creating fire lines and a second heavy lift helicopter will be in service today to drop buckets of water to further slow this fire. The fire is burning in the Sand Creek drainage about 21 miles northwest of Pagosa Springs. The fire is within an area previously burned durin in 2012 and there are many dead trees that are available to burn now.

Smoke from this fire is visible to the north from US Highway 160 between Pagosa Springs and Bayfield. The public does not need to report that smoke. Fire danger remains very high and fire restrictions are in place on the San Juan National Forest.

Additional incident information on the Sand Creek Fire is being posted daily to:

All offices on the San Juan National Forest are currently conducting business and providing services virtually. For information on the San Juan National Forest, call (970 ) 247-4874 or follow us on social media (Twitter and Facebook).