Containment increases at Plumtaw Fire after cool, wet weather

Plumtaw Fire May 22 2022
Posted at 11:19 AM, May 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-25 13:38:52-04

PAGOSA SPRINGS, Colo. — Recent cool and wet weather helped firefighters at the Plumtaw Fire near Pagosa Springs gain containment by Monday evening.

The fire's acreage has been reduced following better mapping to 721 acres. As of Monday morning, it was 33% contained, up from 12% containment on Sunday, according to the Rocky Mountain Complex Incident Management Team 2. In an evening update, the U.S. Forest Service announced containment had increased to 51%.

By Wednesday morning, containment was up to 62%.

Plumtaw Fire map May 23 2022

On Sunday, firefighters extinguished hot spots and secured the fire line, while almost completing line construction to connect the eastern and western lines along the northern perimeter, according to the incident management team.

Crews will continue to secure the completed lines around the fire on Monday and protect the Lost Valley of the San Juans subdivision to the north. A drone will fly over the northeast portion of the fire to find any hot spots.

Many spotfires have burned in the far northeast corner of the fire, said Mike Smith, planning operations section chief trainee with the incident management team. Extinguishing these spots — and making sure none are missed — can be very slow and methodical, he said.

The fire's activity has stayed "moderate" since the drop in temperature and precipitation moved in, the incident management team said.

Monday's and Tuesday's weather will stay breezy and cool before a warming trend returns to the area on Wednesday.

"There are some red flag warnings and fire weather warnings in the forecast and so what we're trying to do is button this thing up as quickly as we can before that fire weather gets here," Smith said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. It sparked on May 17 about seven miles north of Pagosa Springs.