On the wildfire watch, crews in San Juan County were really busy over the weekend. Firefighters from all over the county had brush fires to deal with, and the danger of fires isn't over yet. The county has declared Tuesday a no-burn day.
“This year right now we are busy compared to the last couple of years,” BIA incident commander Leo Belone said.
Busy may be an understatement. San Juan County Fire Department reported eight fires that burned Sunday alone, but for one Navajo hotshot crew mopping up one fire today
“Right now is our 40th fire here in the Shiprock area,” Belone said.
In past years, the crew has had 12 fires to work on at this point in the season. That makes more than three times the volume in the Shiprock area already. As Belone spoke to KOB, a call over his radio read off the latest fire conditions. He said the weather meant extreme fire danger.
Looking even further ahead, San Juan County Fire Department has already banned open burning in the county for Tuesday.
“(With) high winds and low relative humidity value, fuels will be really receptive to fires," Chief David Vega said.
They said that all 14 county districts responded to fires yesterday along with help from Farmington Fire, Bureau of Land Management Fire, and Bureau of Indian Affairs Fire.
“If we get a start things are going to start up quickly. And we get the afternoon winds, with wind on a fire things spread extremely quick,” Vega said.
While Navajo hotshots try to keep a handle on fires that already burned, they know the season is not over by a long shot. After they finished with one half-acre fire they were planning to move west to another fire to clean up next.
“Just monitor our radios and go to another one,” Belone said.
All of the eight fires that burned Sunday are being considered human-caused, and all still under investigation.