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Colorado wildfires: Containment grows on 416, Buffalo fires with rain headed this way

Badger Creek, Burro fires still 0% contained
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Posted at 1:19 PM, Jun 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-15 18:17:42-04

DENVER – Containment on several of the large fires burning in Colorado grew on Thursday as some evacuations were lifted, and there was one more day of high fire danger weather forecasted for Friday ahead of a big surge of moisture that is expected to be a boon to firefighters.

There are red flag warnings in effect until 9 p.m. for most of western Colorado, including the areas where the 416 Fire and Burro Fire is burning in southwest Colorado. Winds are expected to be 10 to 20 miles per hour with gusts up to 35 miles per hour with relative humidity between 23 and 28 percent.

MAP: Here are the major wildfires currently burning in Colorado

But flash flood watches will go into effect in those same areas starting Saturday as tropical moisture moves in from the remnants of Tropical Storm Bud. Southwest Colorado is expected to get up to 1 ½ inches of rain over the next few days, and northern Colorado, where several other fires are burning, could see up to 2 inches. Beyond the weekend, the surge of moisture is expected to continue through next week and could bring up to 4 inches of rain to some parts of northeaster Colorado, according to the latest forecasts.

Here's the latest on the largest fires still burning in Colorado:

416 Fire

More residences and businesses in San Juan County were allowed back starting at noon Friday—nearly 860 in total. Some of the La Plata County residences and businesses remain under mandatory evacuation orders. In total, about 1,000 of the once-2,200 residences and businesses that had been under evacuation orders remain so as of Friday, according to La Plata County. Containment of the fire grew slightly Thursday, and there are 1,137 firefighters assigned. Gov. John Hickenlooper, Sens. Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner, and Rep. Scott Tipton were among the group of Colorado’s top lawmakers who toured the area Friday and took part in a public meeting about the fire.

Size: 23,959 acres

Containment: 18 percent

Location: 13 miles north of Durango

Cause: Under investigation

Badger Creek Fire

The fire, which is burning just north of the Colorado border in Wyoming, has closed the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest, Laramie Ranger District for the time being. The fire, which started June 10, has closed several state highways in Wyoming and Colorado. There are evacuations in place for several small communities in the area.

Size: 14,960 acres

Containment: 0 percent

Location: 2 miles NW of Mountain Home, Wyo.

Cause: Under investigation

Bocco Fire

Eagle County Sheriff's Office detectives are looking for two vehicles seen in teh area just before the fire started on June 9: a blue Toyota Tacoma with a "bully bar" bumper in front and a white or silver sedan (possibly an Audi). Three people connected with those vehicles were seen shooting weapons in the area that day. Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff's office at 970-328-8500.

Size: 415 acres

Containment: 50 percent
Location: 3 miles NW of Wolcott

Cause: Unknown

Buffalo Fire

Mandatory evacuations were lifted for the fire Thursday afternoon, though the areas above Twenty Grand Road remain on pre-evacuation orders. Containment of the fire had also reached 45 percent by Friday morning, and mop-up efforts continue Friday ahead of the anticipated rain.

Size: 81 acres

Containment: 45 percent

Location: West of Silverthorne

Cause: Unknown

Burro Fire

Fire line construction continued Friday on the southern and western flanks of the fire above the Bear Creek drainage, and crews were working to assess the risks to private property along the Dolores River.

Size: 3,408 acres

Containment: 0 percent

Location: 14 miles south of Rico

Cause: Under investigation