416 Fire Grows Another Thousand Acres, In One Day

<p>Courtesy of the La Plata County Government</p>
<p>Fighting the 416 Fire.</p>
Photo: 416 Fire June 6 | Dropping Retardant Slurry Bomber
Fighting the 416 Fire.

The 416 Fire burning north of Durango grew by more than 1,000 acres over the last 24 hours and has prompted more pre-evacuation notices for residents.

In a community meeting Tuesday night at the La Plata County fairgrounds, fire officials announced Gov. John Hickenlooper is preparing to issue a state of disaster declaration that will provide state and federal funds to help the communities affected by the fire.

Almost 600 firefighters are working to protect structures and prevent the fire from jumping Highway 550. So far no structures have been lost. The fire burned all the way down to Highway 550 Tuesday. The highway is still scheduled to be open Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. depending on the fire’s activity.

La Plata County has set up evacuation centers at Escalante Middle School in Durango and at the Silverton Town Hall. The most recent evacuation and pre-evacuation map can be found here.

Fire Behavioral Analyst Brad Pietruszka explained some of the tough conditions the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Blue Team is facing with this fire.

“Fuels that would not normally carry fire at all are carrying fire,” he said at Tuesday’s community meeting. “So we’re talking aspen, which is typically really moist underneath, [and] green fields that seem like they shouldn’t be burning."

Fire containment has been holding steady at 10 percent with full containment expected June 30, fire officials said.