Published: Wed, June 13, 2018

Colorado 416 Wildfire Latest: Strong Winds Stoke Raging Durango Blaze

Colorado 416 Wildfire Latest: Strong Winds Stoke Raging Durango Blaze

Firefighters plan to use propositioned sprinkler systems, fire hoses and aircraft to protect the homes.

"It is better to give people a window for evacuations instead of, 'You need to leave right now because the fire is in your backyard, '" Russo said. At least 675 homes are affected by the new evacuations.

A wildfire, named the Natty fire by officials, is burning through rugged and steep terrain in Fremont County nine miles north of Cañon City.

The fire is the largest of several burning in Colorado, including another fire that broke out nearby Friday.

The large wildfire had prompted the evacuation of an additional 859 homes in the Purgatory/Durango Mountain Resort, Lake Purgatory, Silver Pick Lodge, Cascade Village, Mill Creek and all residences on both sides of U.S. Highway between mile markers 46.5 to 53.1. At 7 p.m. the San Juan National Forest was in the process of issuing closure orders for this fire.

The 416 Fire worked its way to North Buck Creek and the Buck Creek drainage on Sunday and grew to 16,766 acres, nearly doubling in size in a 24-hour period. 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. Winds will be calm in the morning until around 10:30 a.m., and will increase to 10 to 15 miles per hour from the west/southwest in the afternoon. No structures had been lost as of Friday morning.

On Friday morning, 304 residences were notified about evacuations.

Highway 550 southbound will remain open Friday until 6 through traffic only with law enforcement pilot vehicles escorting convoys through the fire area. The combination of weather and fuel conditions created the potential for significant fire intensity and growth.

An evacuation center and shelter is open at Escalante Middle School at 141 Baker Lane in Durango.

Livestock can be evacuated to the La Plata County Fairgrounds at 2500 Main Avenue in Durango.

There were no new burn-area updates early on Monday for the so-called 416 Fire in southwest Colorado but, according to the last update, it had burned almost 17,000 acres (6,880 hectares) by Sunday evening, an area larger than Manhattan. Small animals are being accepted at the La Plata County Humane Society, 1111 South Camino del Rio, Durango (970) 259-2847.

The fire, which was first reported at 10:02 a.m. Friday, June 1 in San Juan National Forest, about 10 miles north of Durango, has since gone on to spread across more than 16,000 acres, according to La Plata County officials.

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