La Sal witnesses another fire on the south slope of La Sal Mountains 

On Monday, October 19, La Sal residents observed a dark plume of smoke rising from the eastern edge of the slope on the La Sals.

Volunteers from the La Sal first responders were first on the scene in Doe Canyon, the origin of the fire.

Winds whipped the flames eastward toward dwellings on Pine Ridge. 

Responders from the Interagency Fire Center joined the La Sal volunteers. Anyone not holding a “red card” was released from the fire as the interagency fire fighters took over. 

Pine Ridge residents anxiously watched the flames move quickly in their direction. Many made plans to evacuate.

Lower Two Mile Road, one of the main access routes to the southern slope of the La Sals, proved to be a fire break, keeping flames away although the fire came within a mile of residences. 

The mountain was full of deer hunting camps on the third day of the annual hunt. Word – and smoke – spread rapidly, and there was a mass exodus of campers and hunters from the mountain as fire officials prepared to close access roads.  

The official reports that 270 acres burned. The cause is still under investigation.

However, unofficial word is that the fire was started by an illegal campfire started by deer hunters even after being advised by other hunters of the fire closure throughout the area. Conditions were tinder dry.

After futile efforts to quench the fire, the perpetrators fled the scene, but were later stopped at La Sal Junction and confessed to starting the fire.

A small encampment was established in La Sal for the mop-up crew, where they spent about two days ensuring the fire was completely out and would not reignite or threaten homes and other buildings in the area.

This is the third fire on the southern slope of the La Sals this summer.

One more time – a big thanks to all who helped fight this fire.

San Juan Record

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