UPDATE: 4:30 p.m., July 15: The Black Ridge Fire is 80% contained. Crews have been working throughout the day to secure and improve fire control lines, and the fire remains within its original 78-acre footprint. Crews responded to some flare-ups during Friday's operations.
The pre-evacuation order for nearby residents has been lifted. Ground and air fire crews will work to further contain the fire on Friday. Oil and gas crews are encouraged to enter sites that were closed Thursday as early as possible on Friday to prevent interface with fire-fighting efforts and use of roads.
Oil and gas operations in the area have returned to normal. The pre-evacuation order for nearby residents was lifted as of 1700 hours on 7/14/16.
Demobilization plans are being developed, but no resources have been released. One helicopter remains assigned to the Black Ridge Fire and made several bucket drops Friday to support ground crews' efforts. Approximately 70 personnel are working on the Black Ridge Fire.
UPDATE: 8:15 a.m., July 15: The 78-acre Black Ridge Fire is 70% contained this morning. Humidity recovery on Thursday evening helped slow fire activity. Crews have laid dozer and hand lines on the perimeter and are reinforcing those lines today to 100 feet in from the fire's boundary.
The oil and gas close-in order has been lifted. The pre-evacuation order for nearby residents was lifted Thursday evening.
Ground crews today will apply water to secure fire lines. One Type 1 and one Type 3 helicopter are available as needed to support crews efforts. Approximately 70 personnel are working on the Black Ridge Fire.
Temperatures from 87-97 degrees are expected today, with single-digit relative humidity and wind gusts up to 25 mph after noon.
Saturday's forecast shows critical fire conditions, with high temperatures and winds expected. Dry lightning is expected on Sunday and Monday. An initial attack force will be on scene to respond to predicted lightning.
UPDATE: 6:33 p.m., July 14: The Black Ridge fire is at 40% containment. A fire investigator has confirmed that this fire was started by a holdover lightning strike from storms during the last week in June.
The Blackridge Fire was reported at 3 p.m. on July 13 in southern La Plata County off of County Road 213 south of High Flume County. The fire is located on Southern Ute land and was measured at 76 acres on Wednesday night. By 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, the fire was 20 percent contained and crews had applied fire retardant around 80 percent of the fire's perimeter. By Thursday afternoon the fire was 40 percent contained. Helicopters were dropping water on flare-ups within the perimeter. Crews from Bureau of Indian Affairs Southern Ute Agency Fire Management, Durango Fire, and Los Pinos Fire on scene: hand crews, dozer and air support as well as a 5,000-gallon county water tank staged nearby. There are approximately 70 personnel on scene. No structures are currently threatened, and oil & gas resources are protected.
Pre-evacuation alerts were issued to residents in the area on Wednesday afternoon, and remain in effect until further notice.
On July 1, the La Plata County Board of Commissioners enacted Stage I fire restrictions for areas south of U.S. Highway 160. Details on those restrictions are available here: Stage I Fire Restrictions. Stay informed on Blackridge Fire updates and other alerts through the CodeRED emergency notification system. To stay informed on the Blackridge Fire status and other alerts throughout La Plata County, sign up for CodeRED notifications.
The fire is burning in pinon, juniper and sage and is moving east. On Wednesday night, the fire moved into a former burn scar which slowed its progression. Crews patrolled the fire overnight, and reported no change in the footprint. Today’s weather calls for temperatures in the high 80s and low 90s with the relative humidity around 6% digits. Crews will continue to build containment lines and will have a type I helicopter and 2 air tankers available today.