Monday, 18 June, 2018

Growing Colorado wildfire forces more evacuations

Entire San Juan National Forest To Be Closed To Public Eyewitness images reveal devastation of Colorado wildfires (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)
Sammy Stanley | 14 June, 2018, 20:47

Over 1,300 homes have been evacuated by a new wildfire burning in Colorado's mountains.

CBS4)- Hundreds of residences in Silverthorne are under evacuation orders after a fire broke out on Buffalo Mountain Tuesday morning and sent up a huge plume of smoke.

A wildfire burning grass and brush in central Washington threatened several dozen homes and other infrastructure, while more than 250 firefighters raced to the hills overlooking Los Angeles to battle a blaze in thick brush surrounded by large homes.

Fire risks are at "historic levels", San Juan National Forest Fire Staff Officer Richard Bustamante said, adding, "Under current conditions, one abandoned campfire or spark could cause a catastrophic wildfire, and we are not willing to take that chance with the natural and cultural resources under our protection and care, or with human life and property".

"That's the overall goal, to help use fire to guide it around some of those places where we just can't put firefighters", Knight said.

A 32-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 550, which has served as a buffer for homes on the eastern edge of the fire, was closed, officials said. The date is not a set-in-stone time for when the fire will be completely contained.

On Tuesday afternoon, officials issued a smoke advisory due to the fire and said people should generally stay indoors if heavy smoke is present for health reasons.

The SJNF covers 1.8 million acres within the Dolores Ranger District, the Columbine Ranger District, and the Pagosa Ranger District across nine counties in southwestern Colorado.

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"We recognize the conditions are dry and hot", Gov. John HIckenlooper said in a statement.

The fire is the largest of several burning in Colorado, including another fire that broke out nearby Friday. "Our state agencies are here to support you".

Graham said earlier that 2,162 structures or homes have been evacuated since the beginning of the fire, and 500 residents are now on pre-evacuation.

Another wildfire is being fought in Colorado, this time near the town of Silverthorne along the busy Interstate 70 corridor.

The Cibola National Forest announcement won't affect Albuquerque Open Space trails until those trails cross into the National Forest, said Philip Clelland, a spokesman for Albuquerque Parks and Recreation Department.

As of 2:45 p.m., Summit Fire & EMS reports 1,384 homes have evacuated while another 1,160 are on pre-evacuation notice.

The fire is at 91 acres and is still growing.

No homes had burned, but 14 outbuildings have been destroyed. The announcement came today after a month of increasing fire restrictions in the forest and worsening wildfires in the area. Officials say the ban was planned ahead of the unforeseen fire.

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