Tuesday, 23 April, 2019

More evacuations as Durango blaze grows

416 fire 416 fire
Deanna Wagner | 11 June, 2018, 17:41

Crews set controlled burns late Thursday that stopped the fire's southern side from spreading and were working the same tactic on the north side, national forest officials said.

It is 10 percent contained.

"After these evacuations, we know we're in this for the long haul, "La Plata County Commissioner Gwen Lachelt said Saturday night, according to a Durango Herald reporter".

Map of new evacuation zones for the 416 Fire Sunday morning.

A wildfire in southwestern Colorado doubled in size from Saturday morning to Sunday morning and forced hundreds more evacuations.

No homes have burned but fire managers have said the flames could reach the small town of Hermosa Friday.

This fire, which was estimated to be about 40 acres by the evening, started about two miles southeast of the Bear Creek trailhead and two miles north of Burro Mountain in the La Plata Mountains.

The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for most of Colorado on Saturday, signifying high fire danger. It was 10 percent contained.

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In addition, an air quality health advisory was extended on Sunday due to unhealthy levels of smoke, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. It comes amid a severe drought in the Four Corners area where Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado meet.

Firefighters have kept the Colorado fire to the west of Highway 550 and away from structures, county commissioners in La Plata County, Colorado, said in a Saturday Facebook post.

Officials say the smoke should begin to lessen and move northeast later Saturday. Residents of about 500 Hermosa homes have been told to evacuate. No homes have been destroyed. Rob Powell, the team's operations sections chief, gave a briefing this morning in which he said the fire grew by approximately 1,500 acres between Friday morning and Saturday morning.

The fire started June 1 in the San Juan National Forest but the cause hasn't been determined.

How many people have been evacuated?

U.S. Highway 550 will stay closed between mile marker 32 and the top of Molas Pass during the evacuation period, fire officials said.

More than 680 firefighters and several aircraft are on scene.