In The Field Camping Podcast

Little Sand Fire

UPDATE 6/22/12: The fire has grown to 17,280 acres with 30% containment, growth potential is HIGH.  Cause of fire is lightning.  Evacuations remain in effect for residents of the Weminuche Valley.

A fire in southwest Colorado called the Little Sand Fire is burning about 13 miles northwest of Pagosa Springs, CO.  It is also not far from where the massive Missionary Ridge Fire burned near Vallecito Reservoir exactly ten years ago.

This fire’s been burning for nearly a month and has expanded to almost 7,000 acres.  While it’s 30% contained, there are Red Flag warnings out for the area and a county Emergency


Management director said to “expect smoke in the Upper Piedra area until the Little Sand Fire decides, on its own, to stop burning.  Given the funding difficulties involved — and the $2 million already expended to date — human firefighting efforts will not be able to stop the fire, which as of yesterday had expanded to about 6,400 acres.  Three crews — about 82 people — are currently assigned to the fire, but the only effective way to end the Little Sand Fire, it appears, may be prayers of supplication.” (Source: Pagosa Dail Post – emphasis added)

There are some campgrounds on the perimeter of the fire area, a couple of which are rated in the Colorado Campgrounds: The 100 Best and All the Rest book.  They are Teal and Cimarrona, which just opened for the season on June 5th, and Bridge which remains closed.

Map of the fire area (PDF)
Little Sand Fire Closures (forest service page) has lists of closed campgrounds, roads, and trails.
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