News Release

Lighting Ignites Three Fires in Mesa Verde National Park

A plume of smoke rises from a canyon head, looking over the tilting landscape of Mesa Verde
2022 Long Fire

NPS/Ann Lundberg

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News Release Date: July 25, 2022

Contact: Kristy Sholly, 970-529-4628

Mesa Verde, CO:  On the afternoon of Friday July 22nd, a dry lightning storm passed over Mesa Verde National Park starting three fires.  While fire lookouts spotted the Long Fire and Moccasin Fire, an air attack plane spotted the third, the Soda Fire, with an infra-red camera on the return flight from mapping the Long Fire.  The Long Fire, the largest of the three fires, was mapped at 24 acres Friday evening.   

Two members of the Mesa Verde Engine Crew were able to contain the Moccasin Fire at 0.1 acres.  Due to poor access and safety concerns, no crews were able to access the larger Long Fire that evening.  Two single-engine air tankers laid retardant lines around the Long Fire to prevent further spread while a helicopter dropped water, cooling off the hottest areas.  

On Saturday and Sunday, a helicopter shuttled firefighters from Mesa Verde and San Juan National Forest to the Long Fire, where they were able to secure 50% of the fire perimeter using helicopters for water support.  The rain on Sunday helped finish securing the fire perimeter.  Light smoke may be visible from the Long Fire for several days, but no further growth is anticipated. 

The Soda Fire is a single tree in an inaccessible location below the Soda Canyon Overlook and visible from the Balcony House Overlook.  Fire management staff will monitor the Soda Fire to ensure it poses no threat to resources or public safety.   

The park is open and no services are impacted at this time.  

Last updated: July 25, 2022

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Mesa Verde National Park , CO 81330



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