A wildfire is currently burning in Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. The Medano Fire was ignited by lightning on June 6 and is located approximately four miles north of the park Visitor Center near Little Medano Creek. It is currently estimated at 82 acres and growing. At this time the fire is not posing any threats to park visitors or resources and is being managed for multiple objectives, with the safety of firefighters and the public being the top priority. If the fire does begin to cause any threats, other management options may be used including full suppression. The Medano Pass Road is now closed from Castle Creek to Medano Pass in the park, as well as all campsites along the road. The Sand Ramp Trail is also closed at its junction with the Medano Pass Road. The rest of the park and preserve, including the main dunes day use area, remains open to the public.
Superintendent Art Hutchinson would like to remind visitors that the fire is having little impact on activities in the park. “With the exception of the temporary closure of the Medano Pass Road, visitors can still look forward to a very rewarding experience in the park and preserve. The very popular day use area along Medano Creek remains open, as does Pinyon Flats Campground. We would also like to remind visitors that this Saturday, June 12, is the park’s Junior Ranger Day and all activities will go on as planned.”
The fire has shown considerable activity over the past few days with burning continuing into the evening hours. Firefighters have been actively managing the fire, ensuring that impacts to the environment are kept to a minimum. They are trying to use natural features to confine and contain the fire if safely possible. Depending on weather conditions, the fire may burn into the following weeks as long as it poses no threats to park resources or the public. The fire will be actively managed every day until it is declared out.
Smoke from the fire may be visible from the main park road, Visitor Center, and Pinyon Flats Campground. General wind patterns have been pushing the smoke to the east away from the main public use areas of the park, including the sand dunes.
Please contact Chief Ranger Jim Bowman with any questions at 719-378-6321.