Plumtaw Fire near Pagosa Springs mapped at 735 acres Wednesday

Crews preparing for red flag conditions on Thursday
Posted at 4:45 PM, May 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-18 22:57:18-04

DENVER – The Plumtaw Fire burning north of Pagosa Springs, which sparked on Tuesday, was mapped at 735 acres in size Wednesday evening, while people living in the Lost Valley of the San Juans remain under evacuation orders.

No further evacuation orders had been issued as of Wednesday afternoon, according to the U.S. Forest Service. People who have been evacuated can call the Archuleta County Emergency Operations call center at 970-422-7084.

Lorena Williams, a spokesperson for the San Juan National Forest, said firefighters performed a burnout near Fourmile Road (NFSR 645) after the fire got within 150 feet of it overnight. Williams said fire crews plan to use the road as a holding line and that fuels work done last year along the road helped crews hold the line.

Firefighters were working on the northeast corner of the fire near Four Mile Road (NFSR 400) to protect the Fourmile Creek watershed and Los Valley, and work on keeping the fire north of Plumtaw Road (NFSR 634), according to Williams.

Brad Peitruszka, the current incident commander, said crews wanted to protect the watershed since it is the main supplier for water to Pagosa Springs.

According to fire command, several Large Air Tankers and other fixed-wing aircraft are working along with ground crews. A Type 3 Incident Management Team from the San Juan National Forest is in charge of the fire command.

Pietruszka said in an afternoon briefing that crews would continue to use NFSR 645 to try to protect the creek, and crews were working out which options were best to keep the fire from spreading too far north and into the Lost Valley area.

The fire started around 1 p.m. Tuesday, but its cause is still under investigation. The San Juan National Forest will move to Stage 1 fire restrictions just after midnight Friday.

The area will be under a red flag warning from 11 a.m. Thursday to 9 p.m. for winds 15-25 mph that could gust up to 35 mph, according to the National Weather Service and Peitruszka.