On Monday, the Minnesota Incident Command System Type 2 Blue Team assumed management of the Bull Draw Fire 12 miles northwest of Nucla.
The fire is blamed for much of the smoke filling the skies west of Delta, and on Saturday prompted a flurry of 911 calls when the smoke grew unusually thick and ash fell from the sky for a brief period of time.
According to the U.S. Forest Service, the lightning-caused fire has burned 6,439 acres since it started July 29. The fire is most active on the north side (Mesa County), where a small amount of growth occurred. The fire is backing down the ridge at the South Fork Mesa Creek drainage. Moderate growth is expected in the coming 24 hours. Current weather conditions and fuels could contribute to more extreme fire behavior on the north slopes if slope and wind align. No structures have been lost.
There is now an official Facebook page for the Bull Draw Fire: (@BullDrawFire) https://www.facebook.com/BullDrawFire/.
On Tuesday, crews were working to maintain and improve the existing fire line and continue structure preparation (this may include clearing flammable material away from houses and utilizing sprinkler systems). Operations staff from the Type 2 Team will scout for strategic opportunities that present the highest possibility for success while providing for firefighter and public safety. More resources have been ordered, and hotshot crews will be arriving to assist with firefighting operations over the coming days.
There are multiple closures in place for areas affected by the Bull Draw Fire. These are in effect for both public and firefighter safety and to allow fire operations to be carried out successfully. These include BLM roads, trails and lands, national forest system roads and trails, and some county roads. For a map of BLM and National Forest closure areas, go to: https://bit.ly/2AMkyYl.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issued an air quality health advisory for much of western Colorado. For a detailed daily air quality summary for all areas of Colorado, visit https://www.colorado.gov/airquality/colorado_summary.aspx. Other fires across the west are also affecting overall air quality and smoke in the area.
The Buttermilk Fire, in the Gunnison Gorge Wilderness Area, was reported at 746 acres and 50 percent containment, on Aug. 5. This fire was also caused by lightning and is located 15 miles northeast of Montrose. Crews are working to increase fire containment. Resources, including aircraft, are being released to other incidents as firefighters make gains on Buttermilk.
The C77 Road remains closed for public and firefighter safety.