Thunderstorms projected for 416, Burro fire areas in Colorado

Cost of fighting 416 blaze estimated at $12 million

The Daily Times staff
  • The Red Flag warning was issued through Friday afternoon as isolated dry thunderstorms with gusty winds up to 40 mph are projected in the fire areas.
  • Areas around the burn scars from the fire will be vulnerable to possible flooding.
  • The Burro Fire located about 14 miles south of Rico, Colo. was listed as burning about 3,000 acres with zero containment.
Air and ground crews continue to battle the 416 blaze. This photo was taken by the 416 Fire team.

FARMINGTON — A Red Flag warning has been issued for the area around the 416 and Burro fires in Colorado as the weather forecast shows possible thunderstorms and gusty winds.

The 416 fire, which started on June 1 about 13 miles north of Durango, Colo. was listed at scorching nearly 32,000 acres, according to a U.S.Forest Service's most recent smoke outlook advisory. It was, however, described as burning 29,187 acres by Wednesday in the fire management team's video update report released Thursday.

The Red Flag warning was issued through Friday afternoon as isolated dry thunderstorms with gusty winds up to 40 mph are projected in the fire areas.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for the Durango area along with the southern San Juans as heavy rain is forecasted for Saturday into Saturday evening, according to NWS Facebook post.

Areas around the burn scars from the fire will be vulnerable to possible flooding. The areas of the fire are in exceptional drought conditions.

416 fire grows

The 416 fire was listed as 15 percent contained this morning and there was growth on the northwest corner of the fire, according to The Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team's update this morning.

The cost of fighting the fire is estimated at $12 million so far.

A pre-evacuation notice was issued Wednesday evening for 162 residences and two businesses along the west side of County Road 203 from Trimble Lane south to the intersection County Road 203 and U.S. Highway 550.

Some of the 1,056 fire personal addressing the fire were working to improve firelines in the new pre-evacuation area in anticipation of the region's windy weather forecast.

MORE: More than 1,000 battle blazes as Highway 550 temporarily reopens

Crews on the east/southeast and the northeast side of the fire will continue mopping up and also removing unneeded equipment today for possible future redeployment.

When conditions improve, a significant planned burnout operation in the area bordered by Falls Creek Subdivision Road on the east and Junction Creek Road on the west will take place.

Citizens are advised flames and smoke will be seen in the surrounding areas including Durango.

U.S. Highway 550 is open today until 6 p.m. for escorted traffic by law enforcement, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.

There is no stopping between the south closure checkpoint at Cometti Lane in Hermosa, mile marker 23, to the north closure checkpoint located just north of Purgatory at mile marker 49.5.  

The Burro Fire, reported on June 8, has grown to almost 3,000 acres as it progresses northeast toward the Hermosa Creek Wilderness at 0 percent containment. This photo was taken Tuesday.

Burro fire

The Burro Fire located about 14 miles south of Rico, Colo. was listed as burning about 3,000 acres with zero containment, according to The United States Wildland Fire Air Quality Response Program smoke outlook report.

It was listed as 2,829 acres Wednesday by fire managers in their morning update.

CHECK THIS OUT:Here is what you need to know about the Burro Fire

Crews from the 181 fire personal assigned to the fire will work to secure the southwest flank in the Break Creek drainage area.

The Burro Fire continues to grow to the northwest, and firefighters are locating and assessing structures at risk along the Dolores River while working to stop the fire's progress in that direction.

The team at the @416fire Facebook page plan to live stream a community meeting in Dolores Colorado tonight at 6 p.m., barring technical difficulties. The meeting takes place in the Dolores Community Center at 400 Riverside Ave., in Dolores.

Aztec's air quality good

The Durango area is projected to get a break from smoke today, according to a report from the United States Wildland Fire Air Quality Response Program.

The Lake City and Silverton areas are projected to see greater smoke impact today and Friday.

For Aztec, the air quality today and Friday is listed as good, according to the report.

416 Fire costs reach $12 million

The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, reported there were 1,746 people responding to fight six active wildfires in the region, The Asociated Press reported. Firefighting costs have reached $12 million since June 1 for the Durango-area wildfire alone, according to the Rocky Mountain Area Coordination Center in suburban Denver.

In southwest Colorado, officials told residents of nearly 350 homes to be prepared to leave if dry thunderstorms, high heat and gusty winds spread a wildfire that has blackened more than 50 square miles (130 square kilometers) and is seen as extremely dangerous for firefighters.

"With the storms comes the lighting and those gusty winds. We're definitely asking the firefighters to keep their eyes open and their heads up and pay attention to any changes in the weather," fire team spokesman Jamie Knight told The Durango Herald.

About 1,900 homes have been evacuated since the fire began June 1, though 560 homes were declared safe late Wednesday, allowing some residents to return.

"We were just happy to get back. We were tired of living out of suitcases. You can imagine four people and two large Labs in small hotel rooms," Joe Hardman told the Durango Herald after going home with his wife, two daughters and two Labrador retrievers.

More news came today.

"From 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, residents and businesses evacuated due to the #416Fire on the west side of U.S. Highway 550 from mile marker 33.5 at Honeyville north to the Glacier Club entrance at mile marker 39.5 can return to their homes and businesses," La Plata County Government announced today. "This includes Animas Village and Pine Acres."

Residents and businesses on the east side of U.S. Highway 550 to the Animas River from Mead/Albrecht Lane north to Rockwood can also return to homes and businesses, including The Ranch and Goodman subdivisions.

"In total, 375 residences and 19 businesses can re-enter beginning at noon," the announcement said.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


NEED TO KNOW: 416 Fire north of Durango impacts air quality in San Juan County

TRACKING GROWTH:416 fire closes San Juan National Forest, Burro fire expands

WANTING ANSWERS:Authorities seek info about fires in Gadii'ahi, San Juan chapters