Great Sand Dunes Manages Lightning-Caused Stupa Fire

News Release Date:
August 1, 2020Contact:Dale Culver, 719-378-6321

A lightning-caused fire ignited within the northern boundary of Great Sand Dunes National Park on the afternoon of Friday, July 31. The Stupa Fire is estimated at thirty acres and burning at an approximate elevation of 8,000′ in grassland vegetation.

The Baca Grande Subdivision Volunteer Fire Department were the first responders who arrived on location. The Volunteer Fire Department was able to control the growing fire to prevent threats to houses and spiritual buildings adjacent to the park. The Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control, Bureau of Land Management, and the US Forest Service assumed control of the fire on behalf of the National Park Service.

Air resources were requested by US Forest Service to assist with fighting the fire. The Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control deployed a helicopter alongside the other aircraft to provide fire retardant drops. Wildland firefighters were able to contain the fire on the evening of July 31st. At this time, the fire is approximately 80% contained. Fire personnel will return to the site on Saturday, August 1 to address any hot spots.

Currently, there are no houses, natural or cultural resources at risk and there are only minimal impacts to visitors. Fire personnel will continue to track fire behavior throughout the weekend. Management strategies will consider access to the area, safety of firefighters, available resources, as well as current and expected fire behavior.

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve wishes to thank the fire personnel who responded and assisted in fighting the fire.

Great Sand Dunes will provide updates on the Stupa Fire on the park’s website and social media channels. For more information on the Stupa Fire, contact Dale Culver, Chief Ranger, at 719-378-6321 or the Visitor Center at 719-378-6395.