More evacuations ordered at Colorado wildfire

Marsha Scott
June 13, 2018

The fire's southwest flank has now moved into North Buck Creek and the Buck Creek drainage.

- The 416 Fire in southwestern Colorado grew to 16,766 acres by late Sunday evening.

Sunday morning started off with more evacuations.

Large smoke columns visible Sunday from Durango came as fire behavior intensified near the Lower Hermosa Campground and burned conifer stands. For now the fire's area is located west of the highway and hasn't crossed to the east side, which is more heavily populated, Bawden said.

"Southwest to west winds will be strengthening across south west Colorado this weekend ahead of a Pacific storm that will be tracking across the Northwest Rockies", officials said in a release.

A mandatory evacuation order was issued for 220 residences in the Falls Creek Ranch and High Meadows subdivisions and for residences on the west side of County Road 203 between Trimble Lane and Cometti/Mead Lanes on Saturday, La Plata County Government said.

Along with the fixed wing aircraft, four Type I helicopters, two Type II helicopters and two Type III helicopters will fight the fire from the air.

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No structures have been lost. The fire in this area is behaving as predicted, according to fire authorities.

Todd Pechota of the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team, said the combination of weather and fuel conditions is creating significant potential for fire intensity and growth Sunday.

The so-called 416 Fire in southwest Colorado had burned almost 17,000 acres by Sunday morning, an area larger than Manhattan.

The Disaster Assistance Center at the La Plata County Fairgrounds in Durango will be open from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Monday.

Around 1,625 people have been evacuated from their homes since the blaze began, and 304 more homes were reportedly abandoned yesterday.

Fire officials expect smoke will be heavy and low in the Animas Valley, and visibility will be restricted Monday morning. Gusts are expected to be between 15-20 miles per hour at the fire, and Durango is expecting a high of 84 degrees, said Michael Charnick with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction. Smoke is expected to be heaviest in the U.S. Highway 550 corridor from Molas Pass through Durango and down to the New Mexico line, as well as the U.S. Highway 160 corridor between Hesperus and Bayfield, extending east past Pagosa Springs. And the Natty fire, which covered 70 acres near Cañon City in south-central Colorado, had been 70 percent contained.

The fire, which started on June 1, is still 10 percent contained.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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