Montezuma County Sheriff's Office

  • Agency: Montezuma County Sheriff's Office
  • Address: 730 E Driscoll Street, Cortez, 81321 CO
  • Chief:
Phone: 970-565-8452
Fax: 970-565-3731

Montezuma County Sheriff's Office is located at 730 E Driscoll Street, Cortez, 81321 CO. The Montezuma County Sheriff's Office phone number is 970-565-8452.

Montezuma County Sheriff's Office News

~Employment Opportunity~ The Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office Detention Center is looking for highly motivated individuals to fill open full-time detentions deputy positions. You must be able to work shift work and be of good character. A high school diploma or GED is required. You must be 19 years of age or older and be able to pass the required background check as well as the standard physical test. Applications can be picked up at the Sheriff’s Office, or you may visit our website at and select the employment application option. Please be sure to include all requested documentation with your application. For more information, you may contact Cpt. Pierce at 970-564-4971.

Message from the Sheriff. US Forest Service/BLM is working on a wildfire located in the East Canyon area on the Montezuma / LaPlata County line, south of Colorado Highway 160 (Mancos Hill area). The fire is currently 1 acre in size and appears to be burning to the east. No residence or structures are threatened at this time. There are now 2 fire engines on scene along with 2 helicopters providing air attack as well as a 2 seat fixed wing aircraft. A hotshot crew and Type 2, incident management team, is en-route and should be on scene within the hour. Further updates will follow. The Montezuma County fire ban was lifted this morning at 11:00 am. However, there is still a fire danger within the county. If you plan on burning, please use caution and take the appropriate precautions

Message from the Sheriff. The fire ban in Montezuma County has been lifted effective 11:00 am 09/10/2018. The Sheriff would like to caution everyone to use care when burning. Individuals burning should have proper fire mitigation around the area of the fire along with tool, equipment, and a means to extinguish a fire that may become out of control. No controlled burns are authorized when Red Flag days and high wind warnings are in effect. You are required to contact Cortez Dispatch at 970-565-8441, to inform them of your controlled burn and ascertain whether there is a Red Flag or high winds warning. Thank you for your cooperation and please be safe.

News Release FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 5, 2018 ___________________________________________________________________________________________________ Plateau Fire Area Closure is lifted Dolores –The Closure area for the Plateau Fire has been lifted. Many hazards still exist in the burn area including falling burned trees, hot burning areas, rolling debris such as logs and rocks, potential for heavy smoke with limited visibility and holes from burned out roots. Increased water, mud and ash flows may result in trail damage and anyone entering the area should take safety precautions. The area is especially hazardous during and immediately after thunderstorms or windy conditions. The Plateau Fire was discovered on July 22, 2018. The fire burned in Plateau Canyon in steep rugged terrain in mixed conifer and ponderosa pine forest with low to moderate intensity. The fire is currently at 19,634 acres and is located about 13 miles north of Dolores within Dolores County. The Fire is 94% contained. Some small interior islands are continuing to smolder. Minimal fire behavior is expected. To report a new fire on federal lands please contact the Durango Interagency Fire Dispatch Center at (970) 385-1324. For more information, contact the Dolores Ranger District at (970) 882-7296.

Plateau Fire Statistics Size: 17,788 acres Containment: 95% Total Personnel: 47 Cause: Lightning Origin Location: 13 miles north-northwest of Dolores, CO 8 Current Situation: Cloudy skies, light rain and higher humidity values on Wednesday resulted in minimal fire growth – just 20 acres -- all well within the containment lines. Firefighters spent the day felling hazard trees and extinguishing hot spots within 120-135 feet from the perimeter of the fire. Fire personnel also completed a fireline repair assessment. As fire personnel were assessing the firelines today, they noted that leaves on small shrubs and aspen are starting to dry and drop. This could result in some areas re-burning as these fine fuels come in contact with smoldering debris. These areas would be well within the containment lines. Where conditions allow, firefighters will begin to rehab firelines. This may involve seeding, pulling cut debris over firelines, and chipping or mastication of cut debris in some areas. The Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) was lifted today at 8:00 a.m. Weather & Fuel Conditions: Hot, dry and breezy conditions are expected to return today, though with somewhat cooler temperatures than experienced for the past several days. Temperatures are expected to be around 80 degrees with relative humidity values ranging from 25-35%. Scattered thunderstorms are possible beginning around noon, which could bring some gusty outflow winds but wetting moisture is unlikely. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Evacuations and Closures: All pre-evacuation notices have been lifted. The Dolores-Norwood, House Creek, and Dry Canyon Roads and the Boggy Draw trails east of Rd. 526 are now open, but the public is advised to use caution near the fire area, as fire resources are still working and driving roads. Some roads may be smoky, especially in the morning before the inversion lifts. An area closure is still in effect on National Forest System lands around the fire. For more information visit: Fire Restrictions: There are currently burn bans in place for Montezuma and Dolores Counties. Air Quality: Smoke in Dolores and Cortez and areas to the east can be expected. For More Information: InciWeb: Facebook: Twitter: Fire Info Line: (970) 403-5417

A message from Sheriff Steve Nowlin on 8.12.18: The Pre-Evacuation for the 30,000 and 31,000 block areas of County Road W and County Road V.6 on Granath Mesa will be LIFTED on 08-12-18 (today) at 1200 hours (Noon). Residence are thanked for their cooperation and assistance in preparations that were taken. In addition, the Temporary Road Closure for Road 31/USFS Road 526 also known as the Dolores-Norwood Road will be LIFTED on Monday, August 13, 2018 at 7:00 am. Please use caution as smoke may contribute to limited sight distance at times in areas and livestock as well as firefighters may be present along the road.

Reminder- #PlateauFire community meeting tonight at 6pm- Dolores Community Center, Sunday, August 12, 2018

#PlateauFire morning update- 8.11.18

August 10, 2018 10am Cooperative Meeting on Plateau Fire with Rocky Mountain Area Incident Management Team Black and supporting agencies. You can also follow the U.S. Forest Service - San Juan National Forest for #PlateauFire updates and check which will be updated daily. Please join us in thanking Mesa Media Productions for providing video coverage so we are able to get detailed info our to the community.

#PlateauFire progression map. Currently at 9437 acres. Please take note of expanded fire closures. PROHIBITIONS: 1) Going in or being upon all NFS lands south of FSR 514, bounded by and including FSR 510 and all lands east of FSR 510 and south to McPhee Reservoir including Dry Canyon, Plateau, Beaver and House Creek drainages and on the east side of the main stem of McPhee Reservoir; bounded on the south end by Forest Service and private property along the southern end of T38N R15W beginning approximately one mile south of the House Creek Campground and on to and including the Dolores/Norwood Road (FSR 526) and continuing east to the Boggy Draw trail head parking and including the Boggy Draw trail parking area; and bounded by FSR 527, FSR 249 to FSR 526 (the Dolores Norwood Road) . (36 C.F.R. § 261.52(e).) T39 N R15 W Sections 1, 2, 7-36 T38 N R15 W Sections 1-18, 20-29, 32, 35, 36 T39 N R14 W Sections 4-9, 14-23, 26-35 T38 N R14 W Sections 3-10, 15-20, 29-31 2) Within the Dry Canyon, Plateau Creek, Beaver Creek and House Creek watersheds, being upon any portion of FSR 510, FSR 510 A, FSR 510 A1 FSR 523, FSR 523A, FSR 247, FSR 524,FSR 524B, FSR 238,FSR 238A, FSR525, FSR 525B,FSR 525C, FSR 288.A1, FSR 288 A FSR 525, FSR 526N, FSR531, FSR526L, FSR 526B, FSR529, FSR529H, FSR529D, FSR529F, FSR529A, FSR 526 (Dolores Norwood Road within the closure area), FSR 528 (House Creek Road), FSR 527 (Boggy Draw Road) FSR 527 C, FSR 527 D, FSR 257 A, FSR 528 B, FSR 528.A 1, FSR 528 G, FSR 527 G, FSR 527 L, FSR 527 K, FSR 526 C,FSR 526 P, FSR 249. It is also prohibited to be upon any portion of the Boggy Draw, Bean Canyon, McNeil and McPhee Overlook Trails within the closure area as well as accessing Italian Canyon or Maverick Trails from areas within the closure area.(36 C.F.R. § 261.54(e).) Note that FSR 514 and FSR 532 (Cottonwood Road) remain open. EXEMPTIONS: Pursuant to 36 C.F.R. § 261.50(e), the following persons are exempt from this Order: 1) Persons with a Forest Service permit specifically authorizing the otherwise prohibited act or omission. 2) Any Federal, State or local law enforcement officer, or member of an organized rescue or firefighting force engaged in the performance of an official duty. This Order shall remain in effect until December 31, 2018, or until rescinded, whichever occurs first. Done at Durango, Colorado, this 8th Day of August, 2018.

Official Plateau Fire interagency briefing at 8pm on 8/8/18. Please keep in mind that crews have shelter, food and drink provided - any official requests for assistance will be shared. We appreciate your understanding. We will post updates as soon as we have more to share. Official info available here as well: Montezuma County Public Health Department Montezuma County Office of Emergency Management Say What Announcements, SW Colorado Television Dolores Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center Thanks to Mesa Media Productions for taking the time to capture this info for the public.

Montezuma County Public Health (MCPHD) advises the following: if moderate to heavy smoke is visible, air quality has reached levels that are unhealthy. I. Individuals should take health precautions especially if they are experiencing the following symptoms: • Eye, nose and/or throat irritation--runny eyes and/or nose. • Coughing, sore throat. • Trouble breathing or tightness of the chest, which may be symptoms of a health emergency. • The onset of symptoms related to pre-existing respiratory ailments like asthma or emphysema. • Especially following days or weeks of smoke exposure, increased short-term likelihood of getting a cold or having similar symptoms of less effective immune responses. • If symptoms persist or are severe, contact your primary health care provider. II. Tips to protect yourself: • If you smell smoke and/or are beginning to experience symptoms, consider temporarily relocating to another area as long as it is safe for you to do so. • Seek out locations where air is filtered. For example, heading to the local mall, movie theater or recreation center can provide some temporary relief. • Close windows and doors, avoid outdoor activity, and stay inside. However, do not close up your home tightly if it makes it dangerously warm inside. • Run the air conditioning, evaporative cooler, or the fan feature on your home heating system, if filtered, (with the heat turned off). Keep the outdoor air intake closed and be sure the filter is clean. Filtered air typically has less smoke than the air outdoors. Running these appliances if they are not filtered can make indoor smoke worse .•If you have any HEPA room air filtration units, use them. •Avoid exercise or other strenuous activities in heavy smoke. If smoke is simply unpleasant or mildly irritating, changing the timing of a few activities may be all that is necessary. •Avoid smoking and/or secondhand smoke, vacuuming, candles and other sources of additional air pollution. •Commercially available dust masks may seem like a good idea, but they do virtually nothing to filter out the particles and gasses in smoke. III. As temperatures cool in the evening inversion conditions worsen and smoke in low lying areas may become thicker, especially if the outdoor air is still. It tends to be worst near dawn. •Close bedroom windows at night. •To prepare for nighttime smoke, consider airing out your home during the early or middle of the afternoon when smoke tends to be more diluted. Use your best judgment. If smoke is thick during the day, follow the tips above. IV. If symptoms persist or become more severe, please contact your primary health care provider. V. For more information visit: Montezuma County Public Health Department Montezuma County Office of Emergency Management

Message from the Sheriff: Aug. 8, 2018, 0900. The Plateau Fire north of Dolores, CO. has burned south jumping the Beaver Creek. House Creek Campground is closed and being evacuated at this time. The Dolores/Norwood Road will be closed at the Cottonwood and House Creek intersections to prevent access to the area. Deputies will be manning the closures so please avoid traveling to that area of the forest. For up-to-date information on the fire, please download the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office at for iPhone users and for Android devices. Also, visit InciWeb at

News Release 8.5.18 10:50am from Mesa Verde National Park Lighting Causes Moccasin Mesa Fire in Mesa Verde Mesa Verde, CO: The Moccasin Mesa Fire was reported by Park Point Lookout on August 4, 2018 at approximately noon. This fire is located on Moccasin Mesa near the southeast boundary of the park. As of the morning of August 5, this fire is approximately 185 acres. Personnel supporting this fire include NPS employees from Mesa Verde, Canyon De Chelly National Monument, and Canyonlands National Park; employees from Ute Mountain Fire; engines from Freemont County and Pike National Forest; one Type 2 and one Type 3 helicopter; air attack and multiple Single Engine Air Tankers; and a 20-person Type 2 crew from the Navajo Nation. The local Type 3 Incident Command Team, out of Durango, Colorado will assume command of the fire this afternoon. The park is open. Services on Chapin Mesa are not impacted, except for the Chapin Mesa Picnic Area, which is closed for fire operations. Areas of the Visitor and Research Center parking lot have been coned off for fire equipment. Please do not stop in the roadway, allow fire personnel to have right away, and remember drones are prohibited in Mesa Verde National Park. We will update the park’s Facebook page regularly

Moccasin Fire- 15 acres as of 4:12pm on 8/4/18.

The fire ban for unincorporated Montezuma County will be in effect until further notice. Stage 1 fire restrictions are still in effect. Stage 2 restrictions are rescinded Per the press release below.

From the Sheriff: The BOCC recently received inquiries from some citizens about the possible penalties for violating the Burn Ban implemented by the Montezuma County BOCC. Below are potential charges one might receive depending on the type of incident caused as well as damage to property and life safety. The penalties listed below are not all-inclusive and do not take into consideration the possible civil repercussions one might face for starting a fire. Public Information on possible Penalties for Fire Violations: Montezuma County Burn Ban Ordinance 2-2014 Class 2 Petty Offense, up to $1,000.00 plus $10.00 surcharge C.R.S. 42-4-1406 Expel Lighted Cigarette or Burning Material from a Vehicle Class 2 Misdemeanor, 3 months jail/$250 fine to 12 months jail/$1,000.00 fine C.R.S. 18-13-109 Setting Fire to Woods or Prairie Class 2 Misdemeanor, 3 months jail/$250 fine to 12 months jail/$1,000.00 fine Violation of this Statue if Fire Ban is in Effect Class 6 Felony, 1 year to 18 months imprisonment C.R.S. 18-13-109.5 Intentionally Setting Wildfire Class 3 Felony, 4 years to 12 years imprisonment C.R.S. 18-4-102 First Degree Arson Class 3 Felony, 4 years to 12 years imprisonment C.R.S. 18-4-103 Second Degree Arson Class 4 Felony if damage is one hundred dollars or more (2 years to 6 years imprisonment) Class 2 Misdemeanor if damage is less than one hundred dollars (3 months jail/$250 fine to 12 months jail/$1,000.00 fine) C.R.S. 18-4-104 Third Degree Arson Class 4 Felony, 2 years to 6 years imprisonment C.R.S. 18-4-105 Fourth Degree Arson Class 4 Felony, if a person is endangered, 2 years to 6 years imprisonment Class 2 Misdemeanor, if only property in danger valued at more than one hundred dollars (3 months jail/$250 fine to 12 months jail/$1,000.00 fine) Class 3 Misdemeanor, if only property in danger valued at less than one hundred dollars ($50.00 fine to 6 months jail/$750.00 fine)

LAST OFFICIAL BURRO UPDATE: From now on, you can find information related to the Burro Fire from these sources:  Burro Fire page on InciWeb: This page will be updated only if conditions change.  San Juan National Forest web site:  San Juan National Forest Facebook page:  Current road closures and conditions: Current situation: The Burro Fire received more rain on the afternoon of July 7, which reduced fire activity enough that smoke was hard to see. However, embers continue to smolder where heavy fuels are protected from the rain, such as the undersides of logs. When hot, dry weather returns, those smoldering embers may create small amounts of visible smoke. Firefighters have diligently extinguished hot spots they find near control lines, to reduce the chance that the fire may spread when dry weather returns. On Saturday, two firefighting crews returned home after a 14-day assignment on the Burro Fire. Two crews will remain on the fire. The long-term outlook for the Burro Fire area is positive. The fire consumed dead wood that cluttered the forest floor, and that ash will fertilize the soil. Scattered small areas of the forest burned completely, while other areas burned at a moderate level, and some areas did not burn at all. This “mosaic” pattern will encourage the regrowth of a diverse mix of vegetation that will improve habitat for many species. Weather: Afternoon showers and thunderstorms are expected again on Sunday, and through the coming week. Storms will be increasingly capable of generating erratic winds and wetting rain. Closures and public safety: Fire restrictions remain in effect on the San Juan National Forest and in Montezuma and Dolores counties. Residents and visitors should continue to avoid open burning, fireworks, or other activities that could create sparks or flame. Closures are still in effect in the Burro and 416 fire areas. Please respect closure barriers on roads and trails. The Colorado Trail is still closed from Molas Pass south to Junction Creek, and the Hermosa Creek Wilderness is closed. Firefighters are traveling on forest roads near the Burro Fire. Please drive cautiously on these narrow, winding roads. Many roads and recreation areas are open: Highway 145 is open. McPhee Reservoir is open, both to shore fishing and boating. The Dolores River is accessible between Dolores and Rico.