Rainfall Brings Relief to Firefighters, Flood Risk to Residents

Jul 9, 2018

Several days of showers and thunderstorms have brought some relief to firefighting efforts at the Burro and 416 wildfires — and a risk for flash floods from erosion. 

In addition to the moisture, cooler temperatures from overcast skies also contributed to weakening area wildfires. Some KSJD listeners reported seeing hail in addition to the showers, thunder and lightning that have covered parts of southwest Colorado.

 

The Burro Fire received enough rainfall to bring smoke down to a smolder from fuel that didn’t touch rain, like the undersides of logs. Additionally, two firefighting crews went home Saturday after 14 days on assignment, leaving two crews with the fire.

 

In a release, officials said that the outlook for the fire is positive as it burned through much the fuel covering the forest floor and will fertilize the ground with ash. As of Sunday evening, the fire was reported at 4,593 acres and 50 percent contained.

 

Over at the 416 Fire, a transition of command will take place Tuesday evening as San Juan National Forest regains control from the National Incident Management Organization team. The switch will be taking place shortly after the fire reached a size of 54,129 acres and 50 percent containment.

 

Significant growth is not expected of the 416 Fire, but a release from firefighting officials said smoke may continue until winter weather begins.

 

Due to the erosion caused by the wildfire, heavy amounts of rain could cause flash flooding. La Plata County has issued pre-evacuation notices for over 300 residents in Tripp Creek, Dyke Canyon, Hermosa Circle and Falls Creek Ranch. Full details on the notice were posted on the county’s website.

 

The beginning of heavier rain from seasonal monsoons is expected Wednesday or Thursday.