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100 firefighters work to contain Bear Dance fire threatening Ignacio, Southern Ute tribal campus

Weather forecast for the southwest corner of Colorado is dry and windy, which has fire managers worried about spread.

Aircraft drops fire retardant to aid firefighters trying to set a perimeter around the Bear Dance fire. The fire started in extremely dry conditions on Friday, June 3, 2022, and threatened the town of Ignacio and the Southern Ute Tribal campus. (Jeremy Wade Shockley, The Southern Ute Drum)

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.

Fire moved quickly through dry trees and brush along Pine River east of the Southern Ute Tribal campus in southwest Colorado on Friday, June 3, 2022. About 100 firefighters were working to contain the Bear Dance fire to the 89 acres that had burned by Saturday afternoon, but were concerned that dry, windy weather could cause it to blow up again. (Jeremy Wade Shockley, The Southern Ute Drum)

To read more about the Bear Dance fire go to To see more photos from the fire, go to

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