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Release Date: 08/16/12
Contacts: Chris Barth, Public Information Officer    
  Montrose Interagency Fire Management Unit    
  Phone: 970.240.5317 (o)    
  970.596.0430 (c)    

Smoke from Fires Outside Colorado Affecting Visibility Locally (08-15-12)

Montrose, Colo. – Thin smoke that has been reported within the Montrose Interagency Fire Management Unit is due to fires outside of Colorado, and not from wildfire activity in the local area. Much of the smoke is being produced by wildfires in northern California, Oregon, Nevada, and Idaho.

There are several fires within the Montrose Interagency Fire Management Unit at this time. While smoke from these fires may be visible in the immediate vicinity of the fires occasionally, it is not impacting regional air quality.

The East Coal Creek Fire, located on National Forest System lands in the West Elk Wilderness, is currently 144 acres. A Type 2 helicopter and crew, along with overhead personnel, are currently assigned to the fire. Much of the East Coal Creek Fire is contained within natural barriers, however, firefighters are working with the helicopter to extinguish hot spots and build fire line where needed.

The Gravel Pit Fire was reported on Monday at 4:00 p.m. That fire is located approximately 7 miles NW of Norwood, CO on BLM-managed lands. The Gravel Pit Fire is currently estimated at 0.25 acre. Firefighters will continue to monitor the fire; while fire and land managers evaluate whether opportunities to achieve resource benefit exist.

East Coal Creek Fire Statistics:
Location:             17 miles west of Gunnison, CO                  Reported:           August 10, 5:18 p.m.
Size:                    141 acres                                                  Cause:                Lightning                             
Resources:          One Type 2 helicopter, one Type 1 hand crew, and overhead personnel

Gravel Pit Fire Statistics:
Location:             7 miles northwest of Norwood, CO          Reported:           August 13, 4:00 p.m.
Size:                    0.25 acres                                                Cause:                Lightning                             
Resources:          One Type 4 engine and overhead personnel

For information on wildfires and restrictions in the area, call the MIFMU Fire Information line (970.240.1070), visit the MIFMU website (, or follow us on Twitter ( and Facebook (

The Montrose Interagency Fire Management Unit covers the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forest (USFS), the Gunnison Field Office (BLM), the Uncompahgre Field Office (BLM), Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park (NPS), Cosecant National Recreation Area (NPS), and public lands in the counties of Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose, Ouray, and San Miguel. 

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

  2465 South Townsend Avenue      Montrose, CO 81401  

Last updated: 08-16-2012