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Firefighters continue to attack 416 Fire north of Durango, now at 1,974 acres in size

Evacuations, pre-evacuations remain in place
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Posted at 10:58 AM, Jun 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-02 21:29:02-04

LA PLATA COUNTY, Colo. – Firefighters in La Plata County continued to attack the 416 Fire north of Durango for a second day as the blaze burned more than 800 acres overnight, county officials said Saturday morning.

The fast-burning wildfire cooled down a little Friday night into Saturday, but firefighters remained on the line to put out spot fires and protect threatened homes and neighborhoods from the blaze.

The fire was estimated to be 1,974 acres in size by Saturday evening and was 10 percent contained, per La Plata County officials.

Also Saturday, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) Air Pollution division warned that an Air Quality Health Advisory for wildfire smoke from the fire had been extended for portions of the southwest region of the state, including Durango, Rockwood, and Hermosa. Officials warned travelers and residents to expect moderate to heavy smoke throughout the day on Saturday. 

GALLERY: See photos from the 416 Fire in La Plata County 

Throughout the day, firefighters will focus on working along U.S. Highway 550 to keep the fire from crossing the road, which remains closed between mile markers 35.5 and 43.5. County Road 250, which was closed to north and southbound traffic Friday, is open to local traffic only from Baker’s Bridge north.

CDOT officials urged travelers to consider a westerly alternate route through CO 145 Lizard Head Pass. They also suggested the following alternatives: 

  • CO 62 Ridgway to Placerville
  • CO 145 Placerville to Dolores
  • CO 184 Dolores to Mancos
  • US 160 Mancos to Durango

Evacuations/pre-evacuations remain in place

Residents from Baker’s Bridge at County Road 250 north to Electra Lake Road are under mandatory evacuation orders, La Plata County officials said Saturday. The mandate affects approximately 825 homes.

Residents from north Electra Lake to Meadow View Drive are under pre-evacuation notice. This includes Purgatory, Durango Mountain Resort, Cascade Village, Celadon, Red Tail Mountain Ranch, and Elkhorn Mountain subdivisions, officials said. Approximately 760 homes are affected by the pre-evacuation notices.

Area residents who want to sign up for emergency notifications and evacuation notices can do so by clicking here.

Two evacuation centers remain open for residents affected by the 416 Fire: Escalante Middle School, located at 141 Baker Lake in Durango; and the Silverton School, located at 1160 Snowden St. in Silverton.

Evacuees are asked to check in either at Escalante Middle School or at Silverton Visitor Center, located at 414 Greene St., in Silverton, to receive resident credentials. They will be necessary for those wanting to go back to their homes once the fire has been contained.

Livestock can be evacuated to the La Plata County Fairgrounds at 2500 Main Avenue, officials said Friday. An emergency call center at (970) 385-8700 can help coordinate livestock pick-up. Small animals were also accepted at the La Plata County Humane Society, 1111 South Camino del Rio in Durango. You are asked to call is (970) 259-2847 for more information.

The U.S. Postal Service in Colorado said Saturday the 416 Fire has affected approximately 540 deliveries near Durango. The USPS asks residents that they bring their ID to the post office as mail is being held there for the time being. 

Clothing, monetary donations being accepted

The Discover Goodwill of Durango, at 1230 Escalante Drive, is now accepting clothes and household donations for those affected by the 416 Fire.

Financial donations can be made by calling the Community Foundation serving Southwest Colorado at (970) 375-5807, in the name of the Community Emergency Relief Fund.

The 416 Fire was first reported around 10 a.m. Friday on the west side of U.S. Highway 550 about 10 miles north of Durango. By Saturday, the fire had spread to the San Juan National Forest.

A state of local emergency was declared Friday night by the La Plata County Manager due to the 416 Fire.

All of La Plata County is experiencing “exceptional drought” – the most severe category handed out by the U.S. Drought Monitor and is eligible for federal assistance because of the classification.