Area residents can expect to see more smoke from the Bull Draw Fire, where activity has recently increased, according to fire officials from the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests.
The 30,710-acre fire, which erupted after a lightning strike July 29, remains at 60 percent containment.
It had been experiencing low activity, but because of rising temperatures, more wind, and a decrease in humidity, pockets of vegetation in the interior of the fire have begun to burn causing smoke to be more visible across the Western Slope.
The fire itself is not experiencing an increase in extreme fire behavior, nor is it currently threatening any communities or structures.
The increase in activity and smoke for the Bull Draw Fire is typical for a fire of its size and complexity which usually requires a “season-ending” event, such as heavy rain and/or snowfall, to be fully extinguished, GMUG officials said in a Thursday news release.
Fire personnel are carefully monitoring and patrolling the fire perimeter to ensure that all necessary and proper actions are immediately conducted.
Due to the Bull Draw Fire’s location, personnel have faced significant danger from steep and rugged terrain which has slowed progress on establishing control lines in the Long Canyon area of the fire. Because of these conditions, the Bull Draw may experience growth in this area over the weekend.
A helicopter will conduct bucket drops in this area to decrease fire intensity depending upon weather conditions.
On Friday, the GMUG announced a small, 5-acre fire burning 13 miles east of Ridgway, and south of Silverjack Reservoir, in high and rugged terrain. Because of the weather, heaving logs in the fire’s interior are burning with more intensity and putting off a more readily visible smoke plume.