Fire stands at zero containment as of Monday morning. 

The state is dry, and unfortunately, as we head into hot weather and lightning season, the wildfire season is already underway. A blaze, named the East Canyon Fire, is burning near the Montezuma County/La Plata County line in Southwest Colorado and is growing quickly. 

First reported on Saturday, the wildland fire was started on private land by a lightning strike. It had burned about 200 acres as of Sunday night, but thanks to windy, hot conditions, it has expanded into BLM land to around 1,100 acres. 

According to fire officials, the fire is located about a mile from U.S. Highway 160, a main thoroughfare that many people travel from Durango to Cortez. The fire is mostly located in La Plata County, and moving northeast. 

A type-3 response was ordered for the fire, which includes an aerial attack, smoke-jumpers, and ground crews. 

So far, a few areas have been evacuated, affecting about 23 homes:

  • The Elk Springs subdivision at Road 46 and Road G.3 along the east side of Menefee Mountain
  • The 1800 block of County Road 105 (just east of Road 46 and Road G.3)
  • Cherry Creek Road in La Plata County

There is currently an Air Quality Health Advisory in effect, as the wind will continue to spread both the fire and the smoke around the region. 

In efforts to get it under control, fire crews are working primarily on the wildfire's west side to keep the wildfire from accessing Weber Canyon, where more homes and a radio tower live. More critically, the canyon contains a lot of fuel, including dry gamble oak, juniper, and pine that could contribute more to the fire. 

For more information on the East Canyon Fire, call the La Plata County fire hotline at 970-385-8700.