VILLA GROVE – The 1,152 acre Ox Cart Fire was fully contained yesterday and the last hotshot crew was released. The fire will continue to be monitored every day by fire personnel with the San Luis Valley Interagency Fire Management Unit.
“Although the Ox Cart Fire is 100% contained, we still expect to see smoke coming from within the burned area for several days,” said Saguache District Ranger Jim Pitts.
The Ox Cart Fire is located on the Rio Grande National Forest in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness approximately 6 miles southeast of Poncha Pass. It is believed that the Ox Cart Fire was started by lightning during an electrical storm on June 6. The fire was first reported on June 8.
Fire danger continues to be very high throughout the upper Rio Grande Basin. The SLV Interagency Fire Management Unit secured an additional four engines from outside the San Luis Valley to assist with fire patrol until fire danger decreases.
Stage 2 fire restrictions continue to be in effect on lands managed by the Rio Grande National Forest and Bureau of Land Management San Luis Valley Field Office. No open fires are allowed. Cooking stoves and other devices that use pressurized liquid or gas that include shutoff valves for the flame are permitted. People gathering firewood are reminded that chainsaws must have an approved spark arrestor and have a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher and round-point shovel readily available for use.
The use of fireworks, flares or other incendiary devices is always prohibited on federal lands.
The complete fire restrictions order may be reviewed at the Rio Grande National Forest website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/riogrande. For more information contact the San Luis Valley Public Lands Center at 719-852-5941.