Bear Fire trapped

Mop-up begins as 100 percent containment reached


The 4,800-acre wildfire that has been burning for a week in Dinosaur National Monument was 100 percent contained as of Thursday night.

The Type II Incident Management team from north Idaho brought in to coordinate the efforts of 300 firefighters will return to Idaho Saturday.

Ted Pettis, information officer for the Type II team, said the responsibility of maintaining the fire's containment will be turned back over to Dinosaur National Monument.

Pettis said the fact that Colorado is in its third year of drought made the fire more difficult to fight.

"A lot of the fuels are really dry right now," Pettis said. "The extreme conditions present problems for everyone fighting fires in Colorado right now."

One positive aspect of the fire was the fact that no large trees were in the area, Pettis said.

"That would have added greatly to the duration," he said. "This fire was a little safer than some because it did not have the big pine trees."

At the fire's peak on Monday and Tuesday, 314 people, 13 engines, three helicopters and seven water trucks were used to keep the fire contained.

Firefighters were concerned early in the week when the fire jumped to the north side of the Yampa River.

Several homes in the Greystone and Douglas area were put under alert when the flames jumped the river, but helicopters dumping water on the north side were able to prevent the fire from spreading further north.

Air resources continue to monitor any flare-ups on the north side of the river, and ground crews are patrolling the perimeters of the fire south of the river. Two structures were threatened near the southeast perimeter of the fire, but have been pretreated and resources are positioned to protect them if the fire were to begin to move again.

The only structural damage that occurred in the fire was a monument kiosk that burnt to the ground at the entrance of County Road 14.

Dinosaur National Monument Superintendent Chas Cartwright said almost all resources will be removed from the fire within the next day.

"We're going to wind it down to just one helicopter," he said. "The feeling was it would be unfair to keep too many resources on when they are in such demand other places."

Officials still suspect a cigarette might have been the cause the fire, but Cartwright said they are not sure.

"What we know is it was human caused but we have no additional information," he said.

Overall the fire was good for the park, he said.

"It was very good from a resource standpoint," he said. "The fire burned a mosaic pattern that we like to see."

The Bear Fire started: June 27 20 miles north of the town of Dinosaur. The park remains open. The blaze cost $1.1 million to fight.

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