Ice Fire near Ice Lakes Trailhead
Ice Fire Updates
In October 2020, the Ice Fire occurred about five miles west of Silverton on the north side of the South Mineral Road and near the Ice Lakes Trailhead. The fire burned steep terrain in the South Mineral Creek drainage. It affected the lower portion of the trail as well as the area around the road to Clear Lake (see map). The Ice Lakes themselves were not impacted by this fire but the trail to them was, in part, heavily damaged. It remains closed and will until July 1, 2021 or until the San Juan National Forest (SJNF) closure order is rescinded.
Since the fire impacted a section of the trail, there is significant hazard tree mitigation that needs to take place in order to make the trail safe to travel again. A more detailed assessment and plan will be made when the SJNF resource specialists can access the area later this spring or early summer.
- Fire Area Closure Map: 10/20/20, SJNF Special Order, SJ-2020-09 – Fire area closure is south of Ophir Pas Road and and west of Highway 550 with those roads remaining open.
- Campgrounds: South Mineral Campground, Kendal, Bear, Sultan & Anvil
- Roads: South Mineral Road, Clear Creek Road
San Juan National Forest News Release/Special Orders
- 10/28/20 SJ-2020-10 Fire Area Reduced Closure Special Order and Fire Area Closure Map
- 10/28/20 News Release, Ice Fire Closure Area Reduced; Ice Lakes Trail Remains Closed
- 10/20/20 SJ-2020-09 Fire Area Closure Special Order and Fire Area Closure Map
- 10/19/20 News Release, Ice Fire Starts Near Ice Lakes Trailhead
Related Links / Articles
- Ice Fire InciWeb: Location, details, map
- Ice Fire Facebook Page
- Durango Herald 10/21 – Ice Fire reaches 30% containment, despite high winds
- Durango Herald – 10/19, Ice Fire west of Silverton grows to 508 acres, 15% contained
- Durango Weather Guy – 10/20, New Model Runs Show Favorable Storm Track & New Ice Fire Video
- Durango Herald – 10/19 with updates, Wildfire burning west of Silverton grows to 320 acres
10/25/20 at 6:30 pm: Rain and snow have been falling in the San Juan Mountains since mid-day and the Ice Fire is now 90% contained. The Type 3 Incident Management Team (IMT) in charge of the fire will depart the area on Monday and return responsibility back to the San Juan National Forest. The Ice Lakes Trail and Clear Lake Road will remain closed, as well the South Fork Mineral Creek Road beyond its intersection with the Clear Lake Road.
10/24/20 at 6:00 pm: Containment increased to 60% today with no growth again. Crews are finishing up repair of suppression actions and removing equipment in anticipation of winter weather tomorrow.
10/23/20 at 6:00 pm: There was no fire growth today (10/23) on the Ice Fire and containment is at 45%. Incident Commander Brad Pietruszka said, “We are cautiously optimistic with how the fire is holding, but we will be monitoring closely as the storm front moves in.” Storm fronts are often are predicted to bring gusty winds. Operations for Saturday will also concentrate on continued repair of fire suppression activities, including chipping of slash and erosion control on fire lines.
Weather forecasts call for dry and breezy conditions Saturday with increasing chances of precipitation. Removal of supplies and materials is occurring ahead of the predicted winter weather.
Falling trees and rocks are still active hazards within the fire area. For these reasons, and to allow firefighters to work, the Ice Lakes Trail and South Mineral Road remain closed. Highway 550 and Ophir Pass are open.
10/23/20 at 8 am: More wind is in the forecast today so firefighters will be watching the Ice Fire closely and taking whatever actions they can safely take, to keep it from growing. Fire is estimated at just under 600 acres and 30 percent contained. Although the fire was intense in places, it has not burned everything within the perimeter you see on our maps. Damaged trees continue to fall near the Ice Lakes Trail and Clear Lake Road where the fire was hottest, and rocks loosened by the fire are rolling down as well. So the area, and the trail, remain CLOSED. Highway 550 is OPEN.
10/22/20 at 7pm: Some interior “islands” of unburned fuel did burn and produce additional smoke but there was no significant activity outside the existing perimeter. While fire has significantly impacted areas along the Ice Lakes Trail and Clear Lake Road, South Mineral Creek Campground is intact and there is very little visible evidence of fire from the campground. Damaged trees and rocks continue to fall in the fire area and the forest remains closed around the fire. Highway 550 has not been impacted by the fire, beyond occasional periods of light smoke.
10/21/20 at 7 pm: Great News! No significant fire activity so far today on the Ice Fire, 583 acres and 25% contained. Firefighters continue the work of securing the fire’s edge where they can safely do so and using helicopters dropping water in areas they cannot access on foot. South Fork Mineral Creek Road remains closed, as does the forest around the fire area. A recording of the virtual community meeting held the evening of 10/21 about the Ice Fire presented by the Ice Fire Team, SJC OEM and SJC Sheriff’s Dept.
10/21/20 at 12 pm: Firefighters plan to “go direct” along a portion of the fire’s edge today to try and gain further control of the Ice Fire. “Going direct” means extinguishing the fire at its active edge, rather than waiting for it to reach an established control feature like a road. However other parts of the fire are in steep, difficult terrain and crews plan to use helicopters dropping water, to slow the fire’s spread in those areas. One objective is to keep it from spreading toward US Highway 550 and another is to keep it north of the South Fork Mineral Creek Road. The fire’s size was estimated at 508 acres last night and is 15% contained.
10/21/20 at 8:45 am: Firefighters were out late last night completing and then monitoring small “burnouts” along South Fork Mineral Creek Road. A drone was used to drop chemical incendiaries higher up the slope which are inaccessible by firefighters on foot. Today crews will attack the fire directly in the drainage west of the Ice Lakes trail and use helicopters to slow fire spread in areas higher up the slopes.
10/20/20 at 7:45 pm: The fire was mapped at 508 acres and 15% contained this evening. Fire crews and helicopters dropping buckets of water made good progress on the Ice Fire today. Firefighters are working to prevent the fire from spreading toward US Highway 550. “We had less wind today and because of the work put in both on the ground and by the helicopters, we’re in a much better position tonight than we were 24 hours ago” says Incident Commander Brad Pietruszka. 100 personnel are currently assigned. If conditions permit, firefighters will directly engage a portion of the fire’s edge on Wednesday, north of the South Mineral Creek Campground. They are also planning to “burn out” small areas to further secure the perimeter and stop the fire’s spread.
10/20/20 at 10:15 am: The Ice Fire is approximately 500 acres this morning.Firefighters worked late last night conducting ignition operations to keep the fire west of Hwy 550. Today, they will continue to focus efforts on this by utilizing aircraft extensively to support ground resources, connecting with natural terrain features (e.g. avalanche chutes), and potentially conducting further ignition operations. Additional crews and engines were ordered and are en route.
10/20/20 at 7:30 am: As of Monday night, the fire is 320 acres. A local Type 3 Incident Management Team assumed command Monday evening (10-19) and is using a full suppression strategy on the fire.
Ground resources are currently working to protect South Mineral Campground and hold fire from spreading south of South Mineral Road. Due to extremely rough terrain and heavy timber, ground crews will be utilizing aircraft to provide critical support. Resources currently assigned to the incident include: 1 Air Attack, 5 helicopters, 6 single engine air tankers, 4 engines, 1 fire suppression module and a helitack crew. Additional resources, including 3 hand crews and 1 water tender, have been ordered. Weather is predicted to continue to be warm with gusty winds, low relative humidity, and dry fuels.
10/19/20 at 8:10 pm: Fire is currently 320 acres. It is burning in heavy timber on steep terrain. Air and ground resources are working to secure and protect the South Mineral Campground this evening and hold the fire on the north side of the South Mineral Road (FSR585). The San Juan National Forest Type 3 Incident Management Team has assumed command of the fire. Additional resources have been ordered and are en route.
10/19/20 at 2:30 pm: Aircraft and resources are on scene and more en route to a new fire reported near Ice Lakes trailhead, west of Silverton. The fire is 15 – 20 acres at this time burning in heavy timber.