A small wildfire in the Beaver Meadows area northeast of Bayfield grew to 3.5 acres on Friday since it was reported Thursday. The fire is currently creeping and smoldering, with isolated torching. Smoke is minimal, but visible from Highway 160.
Dubbed the "558 Fire," it was ignited by lightning in the San Juan National Forest, and is being contained and confined within existing roads, trails and natural features.
"Insects and disease have affected the timber stands in which the fire is burning, leading to weakened and dead trees, which pose a great risk to firefighter safety," said Chris Tipton, the Columbine District's fire management officer. "As the fire advances towards our predetermined boundaries, we may use small-scale firing operations to reduce flammable materials and widen containment lines, where it is effective and safe to do so."
The weather forecast is expected to help to moderate fire activity, with an increasing likelihood of afternoon precipitation and rising dew points forecast. Firefighters will monitor fire behavior and using fire operations, when necessary, throughout the weekend.
The 558 Fire is burning in an area west of Forest Road 160, east of County Road 135, and north of Forest Trail 717. Although there are currently no travel or camping restrictions in the area, visitors should be aware that fire activity can increase at any time. There are no flight restrictions in effect; however, the use of drones is prohibited for the safety of firefighters and aircraft.
For more information, please contact the Columbine Ranger District at 884-2512.