416 Fire Update: Flash flood warnings issued as crews monitor incoming storm
Smoke from wildfires in Colorado has impaired air quality in northwest New Mexico.
FARMINGTON — Fire crews are monitoring the weather around the 416 fire north of Durango, Colo. which started two weeks ago.
The fire located about 13 miles north of Durango in the Hermosa area was listed as burning 32,959 acres and 18 percent contained, according to a Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team report.
It was listed as 29,147 acres and 15 percent contained Thursday morning.
Managers of the 416 fire are working with La Plata County Emergency Services to monitor the flash flood watch issued from 9 a.m. to midnight on Saturday with accumulations up to one inch of rain.
A red flag warning was issued until 9 p.m. as a storm could generate dry lighting and up to 40 mph gusts of wind.
Cloud cover will also play into the operations of the 1,137 fire personnel battling the 416.
The fires are projected to be more active if the cloud cover is sparse. Significant cloud cover could lead to less fire activity similar to Thursday, but could also lead to thunderstorms.
The 416 fire is expected to grow and be active on the northwestern/western edge of the fire.
Crews near the Falls Creek area are working to keep the fire held on the ridge line using aircraft.
U.S. Highway 550 is open until 6 p.m. for traffic escorted by law enforcement, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation. The south closure checkpoint has been moved to mile marker 39.5 to the Glacier Club entrance.
Residents were allowed to return their residences and businesses on the west side of U.S. Highway 550 between mile marker 33.5 at Honeyville up to the south closure checkpoint at the Glacier Club entrance, according to the La Plata County Government Facebook page.
Residents on the east side of U.S. Highway 550 were allowed to return to their homes to the Animas River from Albrecht/Mead Lane north to Rockwood. Those residents remain on pre-evacuation notice.
The Burro Fire west of the 416 fire has grown to 3,408 acres with zero containment, according to the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team.
Crews worked to construct a fire line along the west and south side above Bear Creek drainage and continued to assess structures at risk along the Dolores River.
The air quality index for Aztec is listed as good for today and Saturday with heaviest impacts from the smoke in the morning and clearing out by early afternoon, according to a report from the United States Wildland Fire Air Quality Response Program.
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