Firefighters in southwestern Colorado faced challenging weather conditions as the expansive 416 Fire doubled in size over the weekend.
The blaze, which began on June 1 about 10 miles north of Durango, Colorado, had burned over 8,600 acres by Saturday, June 9. However, that number had doubled to 16,766 acres by Sunday, June 10. The fire is currently 10 percent contained.
“Critical fire weather conditions persisted today as predicted. Winds gusted up to 35 to 40 mph on the ridges, causing increased fire behavior and intensity in Divisions H and D on the western side,” officials said.
Additional evacuations were ordered over the weekend, increasing the number of residences evacuated to 2,156. More than 370 residences remain under pre-evacuation notices.
About 800 firefighters are working to contain the fire. No structures have been lost thus far.
The San Juan National Forest is planning to implement a forest-wide closure that will go into effect on June 12. The closure is due to ongoing drought and wildfire conditions.
In addition to the 416 Fire, a number of large blazes continued to burn in New Mexico, including the Ute Park Fire, which has burned more than 36,000 acres since it ignited May 31.
Hot, dry conditions are forecast through the middle of the week, but moisture from Hurricane Bud, currently located in the East Pacific, may infiltrate the Southwest late this week and offer some relief.
“Winds across the West will turn a bit stronger later this week, with gusty afternoons making firefighting more difficult,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Evan Duffey said.