FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 21, 2011
“CRACKER FIRE” IN CHERRY CREEK AREA SOUTHWEST OF DURANGO IS 75% CONTAINED
Durango, CO – The Cracker Fire is located 8 miles south of Hwy 160, west of County Road 105 in Flat Canyon. The fire was dispatched to Fort Lewis Mesa Fire shortly before 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon. The ¼ acre fire quickly grew to approximately 6 acres on densely covered, steep terrain. Initial attack was made by crews and equipment from Fort Lewis Mesa Fire, United States Forest Service (USFS), Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)/Southern Ute Indian Tribe (SUIT), Upper Pine Fire and Durango Fire Rescue Authority. Air support was provided Wednesday afternoon by bucket drops from a light helicopter and two SEAT aircraft (Single Engine Air Tanker). At 8:30 p.m., command was turned over from Chief Ebner of Fort Lewis Mesa Fire to an Interagency Type III Incident Management Team.
Favorable weather has helped remaining crews keep the fire from spreading. Incident Command reported that overnight, a fire line was completed around 75% of the perimeter
This morning, the regional crews returned to the fire line in attempt to complete the line around the perimeter. Air support is being provided by the USFS Durango Helitac medium helicopter which will be working on the steep rocky terrain throughout this morning. The first of two Federal 10-person wildland crews arrived mid-morning and a second will arrive this afternoon. The NewAir light helicopter will be making bucket drops on the fire this afternoon.
Crews are optimistic that they will have 100% containment by this evening. Incident command hopes to pull crews off the fire tonight and begin mop-up in the morning.
This fire had a very high potential for spreading in the steep and narrow canyons. Calm winds and higher humidity have greatly helped the firefighting efforts.
Butch Knowlton, Director of Emergency Preparedness, praised the timely efforts of firefighting personnel in getting fire lines established and for the assistance of Federal and BIA/SUIT crews and the support of the NewAir helicopter.