The 12-day-old conflagration, dubbed the 416 Fire, was by far the largest and most threatening of at least a half-dozen blazes raging across Colorado as the 2018 summer wildfire season heated up across the Western United States. The fire only burned about 100 acres (40.5 hectares) but came dangerously close to two densely populated housing developments.
Mayor Sweetie Marbury said Monday the closure is a necessary one. "Being a resort town, there's a need for a lot of housing and there's only so much available space for good land to build on".
Firefighters said Monday that full containment of the 416 Fire was not expected before the end of the month. He was trying to protect the house he's lived in since he was 16 by wetting it down, but the wind shifted and sent the flames barreling right toward him.
"I threw a hose over the fence to try to wet down the cheatgrass, and then you could see the smoke rolling in the creek and it stood up like a tornado and that log I was standing on filled with cheatgrass, it just blocked me off", Carrigan said. Waves of fire moving up to 2 miles per hour have raced up to the sides of homes before firefighters managed to put them out.
Multiple wildfires are already burning in the area, including the 23,000-acre 416 Fire near Durango, Colorado, and the 41,000-acre Buzzard Fire in west-central New Mexico.
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No homes have been lost to the fire, which is 10 percent contained. A severe drought also has hit the Four Corners area where Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado meet.
The move comes as the residents of over 2,000 homes have been forced to evacuate because of a fire that started June 1 in the forest and has spread to about 35 square miles.
Meanwhile, additional firefighters were headed to Wyoming to work on a wildfire that has exploded in size and prompted evacuations near the Colorado border. The incident managing team and the San Juan National Forest give input to the La Plata County Sheriff's Office on evacuation notices, which ultimately makes the final decision.
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The west side of the 416 Fire is burning at over 8,000 feet in terrain that is hard for ground resources.
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.
Across the region, the dry winter has led to a risky fire season as firefighters battle blazes in Utah, Wyoming, Washington and California.
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