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Contact: Dan Johnson, (435) 781-7702
Dinosaur, CO – Fire managers at Dinosaur National Monument are now conducting suppression actions on the Wild/Hacking fire on Wild Mountain. The current official estimate for the size of the fire is approximately 370 acres, though this number may change once full surveys have been completed. Originally, the Wild/Hacking fire began as two separate fires, the result of lightning strikes on Thursday, but had merged into one fire by Friday.
Located in a remote portion of the monument without any threat to structures, fire managers analyzed a number of factors and decided to manage the Wild/Hacking fire for the natural benefits fire provides, including fuel reduction, returning nutrients to the soil and improving wildlife habitat and forage. "As the fire moved around, there was the potential for it to enter into terrain that would make suppression efforts, if needed, very challenging," stated Fire Management Officer, Joe Flores. "We also wanted to make sure that the fire did not pose any risk of moving outside the monument boundaries and impacting our neighboring land owners and managers. We achieved the objectives we were hoping for with the initial management and the suppression actions we are now taking are proving successful as well."
The fire remains within the Colorado portion of Dinosaur National Monument. Fire managers continue to work with the Bureau of Land Management and private property owners in the area on the management of the fire. There is no threat to either the Jones Hole or Harpers Corner areas of the monument even though visitors to those areas may encounter smoke.
A total of 44 fire personnel are on the scene. This includes a 20 person fire crew from Montana, the Black Hills Fire Module, a fire crew from Dinosaur National Monument, and a helicopter. Additional monument staff are also assisting in support operations.
The Canyon Overlook and Picnic Area along the Harpers Corner Road remain closed to the public for use as a helicopter landing spot. Fire managers also ask that pilots avoid the airspace around the fire in order to not create hazards for air operations.
Visitors to the monument and residents of the nearby communities of Vernal, Roosevelt, and Rangely may see smoke rising from the Wild Mountain area. Depending on winds and temperatures, smoke may also settle in the river canyons and particularly the Echo Park area of the monument.
Visitors are advised to avoid the Wild Mountain area of the monument both for their safety and to not interfere with fire operations. The fire is not located near the Dinosaur Quarry and visitor services or facilities other than the Canyon Overlook on the Harpers Corner Road have not been affected by fire operations. For more information on Dinosaur National Monument, call us at (435) 781-7700.