Breaking News
More () »

Two large wildfires double in size in southwest Colorado

The Quartz Ridge Fire and Bear Creek Fire were started by lightning last week near Pagosa Springs.

PAGOSA SPRINGS, Colo. — Two large wildfires – the Quartz Ridge Fire and the Bear Creek Fire – started last week in the San Juan Mountains and had burned more than 1,400 acres between them on Tuesday night.

The Quartz Ridge Fire is the larger of the two wildfires and doubled in size Tuesday to 1,133 acres. Its smoke column was visible from Pagosa Springs and the surrounding area, the Forest Service said. It was discovered on Aug. 5, was started by lightning and was 0% contained as of Tuesday.

Firefighters aren't able to directly engage the fire because it's burning in a remote wilderness area on steep terrain, the agency said. The Quartz Ridge Fire was visible to travelers on U.S. 160 and Colorado 84 and from Pagosa Springs, Bayfield and Durango.

The Bear Creek Fire is burning about 2 1/2 miles west of the Weminuche Valley and, as of Tuesday night, had burned about 283 acres since it started Aug. 1, the Forest Service said. The fire was started by lightning and was 0% contained.

Firefighters worked to suppress the fire when it first started but have since backed off due to increased fire behavior and are monitoring the fire, the agency said.

Several Forest Service trails were closed due to the Bear Creek Fire: Little Sand Trail, Shaw Creek Trail and Falls Creek Trail. The fire is visible from Pagosa Springs and Bayfield and to travelers on U.S. 160 and Colorado 84.

The San Juan Type 3 Incident Management Team took command for both fires Tuesday morning after the fires showed substantial growth the day before, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

Credit: U.S. Forest Service
The Quartz Ridge Fires burns on Monday, Aug. 7, 2023.

More 9NEWS coverage of wildfires:



Watch more from 9NEWS on the free 9NEWS+ app for Roku and Fire TV.      

9NEWS+ has multiple live daily shows including 9NEWS Mornings, Next with Kyle Clark and 9NEWS+ Daily, an original streaming program. 9NEWS+ is where you can watch live breaking news, weather updates, and press conferences. You can also replay recent newscasts and find videos on demand of our top stories, local politics, investigations and Colorado specific features.      

To download 9NEWS+ on Roku search for KUSA.       

To download 9NEWS+ on Fire TV search for 9NEWS.     

RELATED: Watch 9NEWS for free on ROKU, Apple TV, Fire TV 

Before You Leave, Check This Out