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Stockade Fire still burning

Modified: Tuesday, Apr 23rd, 2013

Sanford fire volunteers from left Trevor Miller, Kay Miller, Mike Agin and Austin Miller had been on the scene of the Stockade fire for about three hours Sunday afternoon when they paused to catch their breath. A towering plume of smoke from the Stockade Fire northeast of Sanford reduces the early evening sun to a burst. Sanford Fire was the first on the scene midday Sunday, but later called in reinforcements from throughout the southern half of the Valley and the U.S. Forest Service. Some were still battling hot spots throughout the day Monday. Courier photos by Keith Cerny and Ruth Heide

SANFORD On Sunday, a wildland fire burned an estimated 925 acres of grass, willows and cottonwoods on private and BLM-managed land approximately three miles northeast of Sanford.

The wind-driven fire spread quickly and threatened several structures including the historic Pike Stockade, according to a Monday press release from SLV Public Lands Center Public Affairs Specialist Mike Blakeman. Luckily, all structures were successfully protected, and no one had to be evacuated.

On Sunday the fire took strong runs with 3-4-foot flame lengths and on Monday morning was smoldering with the expectation of increased fire behavior as the day warmed and the winds picked up.

As of 4:30 p.m. Monday there was no new growth of the fire. The perimeter held, but there were still hotspots in the stands of cottonwood trees.

Close to 40 fire engines responded to the fire call at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 21, from all the Conejos District Fire Departments, as well as from Alamosa, Costilla and Monte Vista Fire Departments and the SLV Interagency Fire Management Unit. An estimated 100 to 140 local firefighters were fighting the Stockade Fire on Sunday, Blakeman reported. The 20-person San Juan Hotshots crew arrived on the fire Monday morning, he added.

Since the fire burned both private and BLM-managed lands, it is being managed under a unified command with Sanford Fire Chief Mike McCarroll as the incident commander and Paul Duarte the interagency representative.

Cool evening temperatures and higher humidity helped the firefighters to contain 50 percent of the perimeter of the fire by Monday morning. If the firefighters can hold the lines during predicted gusty winds, the Stockade Fire is expected to be 100 percent contained by late Tuesday.

The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.

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