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Weather expected to turn in favor of firefighters this weekend
Growth of 416 Fire slowed by higher humidity
FARMINGTON — Increased humidity and a forecast that calls for regular afternoon thunderstorms in the days ahead brought a note of optimism today for managers of the 416 Fire burning north of Durango, Colorado, which is now 45 percent contained.
The next couple of days are expected to bring dry afternoon storms with lightning, but afternoon rainfall is expected to begin occurring Friday and continue into early next week.
As of this morning, the fire was reported at 53,260 acres, but it grew by only 482 acres between Tuesday and today, when fire activity was described by managers as low to moderate. A total of 459 personnel are engaged in battling the blaze.
In his daily briefing, Alex Robinson, the operations section chief for the Portland National Incident Management Organization team, said this morning that confidence is high that significant afternoon moisture will fall on the fire from Friday through at least Monday as the seasonal monsoon patterns begins to set up in the desert Southwest.
With that thought in mind, he said fire managers would begin moving heavy firefighting equipment out of some remote areas soon to avoid seeing it get stuck on muddy or slick roads once the rain begins to fall.
More 416 fire coverage: Purgatory resort to reopen, Durango area likely safe
An update posted on the 416 Fire Facebook page indicated forecasters believe daily amounts of rain ranging from one-tenth of an inch to one-quarter of an inch can be expected by Friday and continue over the next few days.
Smoke will continue to be a factor for residents of communities throughout the Animas River Valley from Hermosa to Aztec, particularly in the overnight hours.