Bear Dance Fire breaks out on Southern Ute Indian Reservation land

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Posted at 3:27 PM, Jun 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-06 13:06:25-04

IGNACIO, Colo. – Pre-evacuation orders have been lifted after a wildfire broke out on Southern Ute Indian Reservation land Friday afternoon, according to Bureau of Indian affairs officials.

The fire – estimated to be about 89 acres in size as of 9:30 p.m. – ignited near Bear Dance Road and is moving north along the Pine River. It is burning red willows, brush, and cottonwood tree, according to Southern Ute Indian Tribe officials. By Saturday night, the fire was 40% contained.

No one has been injured and no structures have been lost.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs, Southern Ute Agency Fire Management and Los Piños Fire Protection and District are responding the blaze.

The Southern Ute tribal campus was evacuated, officials said, and housing developments along County Road 517 and homes along County Road 516 north toward Sundance Road were under pre-evacuation orders, which have since been lifted.

Ute Park Road from the intersections of CR 517 and Bear Dance Road will remain closed while crews work to contain the fire.

Officials said smoke is visible from Colorado Highway 172, County Road 517 and County Road 321.

“Individuals should avoid County Roads 517, 518, and 516. Smoke will be visible to the local communities,” the release from Bureau of Indian Affairs states, adding the Tribe is also working with oil and gas operators in the area to shut in facilities in the vicinity of the fire “in an effort to mitigate any potential impact from those operators to first responder’s ability to contain the fire.”

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Stage 1 fire restrictions were enacted for Southern Ute Indian Reservation on May 20 and will remain in effect until conditions improve.