Published: Thu, June 14, 2018

Fire and drought close forests in Colorado and New Mexico

Fire and drought close forests in Colorado and New Mexico

Almost 400 seasonal and permanent homes have been evacuated because of the fire near the Colorado border. "Multiple aircraft are actively dropping water and retardant at this time", county fire officials said.

Crews remain vigilant for new embers.

"Under current conditions, one abandoned campfire or spark could cause a catastrophic wildfire, and we are not willing to take that chance with the natural and cultural resources under our protection and care, or with human life and property", said Richard Bustamante, SJNF forest fire staff officer.

Right now, there are two fires burning in the San Juan National Forest. Suppressing the fire where we could, putting out spot fires, if it spots into a community. There are 150 firefighters battling the wildfire. He says the developments are densely populated, serving as homes for area workers, rather than having sprawling vacation homes. "We bounce back", she said.

The forecast calls for continued hot, dry, and windy conditions and will affect fire behavior again on Wednesday. Nor did the tightly packed subdivisions at risk of burning. Air support was also in play yesterday as two VLATs and four heavy air tankers worked the fire Monday.

Firefighters split off into teams to protect houses in both the Wildernest and Mesa Cortina neighborhoods.

The wildfire with the odd name, "416", continues to be very active especially on the west side.

"It's grown substantially since the last mapping and is now much larger", Voos said.


Since 2006, the U.S. Forest Service has created a 900-acre buffer between the houses and the trees there.

There also is an exception in the Sandia district for Foothills Trail No. 365, the Sandia Peak Tram and the Sandia Ranger District Administrative site, which includes the Tijeras Pueblo, trail, programs and facilities, forest officials said in a news release.

Though thunderstorms in the next few days could bring much-needed moisture to the area, officials are anxious the storm could bring lightning and gusty winds that lead to unpredictable fire behavior.

"That's the overall goal, to help use fire to guide it around some of those places where we just can't put firefighters", Knight said. "And if you can get to them soon enough, you can shut them down", Hickenlooper said.

The 416 Fire was one of several West Coast wildfires that began around June 1. The cause of the fire is unknown.

There will be a public meeting tonight at 6:15 p.m.at the Silverthorne Pavilion, located at 400 Blue River Pkwy., Silverthorne, CO 80498.

The situation was better in central Washington, where authorities lifted evacuation orders or warnings for about 50 residents as crews work to contain a wildfire burning grass and brush.

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