The two wildfires at Dinosaur National Monument have merged into one 380-acre fire, and emergency responders are working to suppress the blaze.
“The Wild Fire ran right over the Hacking Fire, and they merged into one,” said Dan Johnson, chief of interpretation and visitor services at Dinosaur National Monument.
The fires started late Thursday from lightning strikes.
Officials initially were allowing the fires to burn for the natural benefits they provide to the land, such as fuels reduction, returning nutrients to the soil and improving wildlife habitat. But now they hope to completely extinguish the unified fire before it spreads into areas where it would be more difficult to maintain.
“As we watched it move around, we realized that it could’ve entered into a place where the terrain makes it really difficult to control,” Johnson said. “We’re going to continue those efforts to suppress it until it’s reached 100 percent containment.”
Currently, 44 firefighters are working to suppress the blaze, which remains on the Colorado side of Dinosaur National Monument.
The fire poses no threat to structures.
Officials are keeping the Canyon Overlook and picnic area closed because they’re using it for a helicopter landing spot.
Noelle Leavitt Riley can be reached at 970-875-1790 or nriley@CraigDailyPress.com.