The 416 Fire currently threatening homes and land in southwestern Colorado is now considered the fifth-largest wildfire in the state’s history. The wildfire, which initially ignited about 10 miles north of Durango on June 1, has ripped through 25,900 acres and is only 15 percent contained.
Fighting the blaze has proven challenging for the more than 1,000 emergency personnel working to contain it as weather conditions thwarted their firefighting efforts over the weekend and into early this week.
The sky turns red as the sun sets behind the Rocky Mountains late Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Denver. Several wildfires in Colorado, as well as numerous other fires in the interior West, have filled the region with high levels of smoke in the air. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
“There was some growth on the northwest side, but the fire is still in areas of thinner fuel, so it is not moving quickly at this time,” officials said. “The fire will likely gain intensity as it moves into denser fuel.”
More than 2,100 people were ordered to evacuate the area over the weekend. However, officials announced that the evacuation orders for San Juan County residents will be lifted by 8 a.m. local time on Wednesday.
Air quality in Durango is considered at “hazardous” levels, which is the poorest level on the air quality index.
San Juan County homes will remain on pre-evacuation notice, according to officials. No structures have been destroyed as of Wednesday morning. The 416 Fire’s cause is still unknown.
A handful of other wildfires, including the 92-percent-contained Ute Park Fire in New Mexico, continue to burn in the Four Corners region. A 100-acre wildfire in Colorado’s Buffalo Mountain ignited Tuesday morning 2 miles west of Silverthorne, prompting hundreds of evacuations in that area.