About 100 firefighters continued to battle the Bear Dance fire on Saturday, a wildfire that flared to life just after noon Friday and threatened the town of Ignacio and the Southern Ute Tribal campus in southwest Colorado.
Fire crews were working to set a perimeter around the fire that had by 3:40 p.m. Saturday consumed 89 acres northeast of Ignacio and east of the tribal campus.
Firefighters were working to put out hot spots within the burn area on Saturday and have made “great progress” since Friday, Lindsay Box, spokeswoman for Southern Ute Indian Tribe, said.
The National Weather Service in Grand Junction forecast a high temperature of 83 degrees and southwest winds up to 15 mph for Saturday. Box said fire crews are taking precautions to make sure flare ups don’t occur. Because of the wind, firefighters have a safety officer on scene for their own safety.
A news release by the Southern Ute Indian Tribe distributed Friday evening said “fuels remain critically dry due to the mega drought conditions.”
The Southern Ute reservation has been under a fire ban since May 19.
Box said cottonwoods in the area are “extremely dry” and can be “troublesome” for firefighters trying to contain the blaze. On Friday, the fire quickly burned through brush willows and cottonwoods. Firefighters worked to contain the blaze to the Pine River river bed.