Massive 416 Fire threatens homes near Durango, Colorado, as it creates hazardous air quality
By Ashley Williams, AccuWeather staff writer
June 16, 2018, 2:29:25 AM EDT
Share this article:
The 416 Fire continues to threaten homes and land in southwestern Colorado.
The wildfire, which initially ignited about 10 miles north of Durango on June 1, has ripped through 32,959 acres and is only 20 percent contained.
Fighting the blaze has proven challenging for the more than 1,100 emergency personnel working to contain it as weather conditions thwarted their firefighting efforts last weekend and into early this week.
“There was some growth on the northwest side, but the fire is still in areas of thinner fuel, so it is not moving quickly at this time,” officials said. “The fire will likely gain intensity as it moves into denser fuel.”
More than 2,100 people were ordered to evacuate the area last weekend. However, evacuation orders for San Juan County residents were lifted by 8 a.m. local time on Wednesday.
Air quality in Durango is considered at “hazardous” levels, which is the poorest level on the air quality index. Air quality advisories are in place as significant ash blows eastward from the fire, according to officials. People in the area are being advised to take steps to protect their respiratory health.
How inhaling wildfire smoke can wreak havoc on your health
What wildfire smoke toxins could you be inhaling?
How wildfires leave communities vulnerable to flooding, mudslides for years
How forest fires play an essential role in natural life cycles of plants, wildlife
San Juan County homes will remain on pre-evacuation notice, according to officials. No structures have been destroyed as of Thursday evening. The 416 Fire’s cause is still unknown.
A handful of other wildfires, including the 95-percent-contained Ute Park Fire in New Mexico, continue to burn in the Four Corners region. A 100-acre wildfire in Colorado’s Buffalo Mountain ignited Tuesday morning 2 miles west of Silverthorne, prompting hundreds of evacuations in that area.
Some of the larger wildfires that Colorado has experienced include the 117 Fire, which burned 40,892 acres in April 2018; and 2002's Hayman Fire, which ripped through 138,114 acres and is considered the state's largest wildfire on record.
Editor’s note: This story previously reported that the 416 Fire was the fifth largest wildfire in Colorado history. The information has been updated to reflect larger wildfires that have occurred.
Comments that don't add to the conversation may be automatically or manually removed by Facebook or AccuWeather. Profanity, personal attacks, and spam will not be tolerated.
More Weather News
Weather News - November 12, 2018, 1:09:51 PM EST
A storm with snow, ice and rain will bring travel disruptions from the Midwest and southern United States to the Northeast spanning Wednesday night to Friday.
Weather News - November 12, 2018, 11:52:48 AM EST
One of the most well-known meteor showers of the year is set to peak this weekend as the Leonids will be on full display across Europe.
Over 200 remain missing in Northern California as firefighters battle Camp Fire, which is tied for deadliest in state history
Weather News - November 12, 2018, 11:49:13 AM EST
The most destructive wildfire in California history continues to burn in Northern California in Butte County. The fire has destroyed hundreds of buildings and has placed hundreds of lives at risk.
75,000 Los Angeles County homes remain evacuated, number of destroyed homes expected to rise as Woolsey Fire rages in Southern California
Weather News - November 12, 2018, 1:11:20 PM EST
Extreme fire behavior will continue to challenge firefighters in Southern California early this week as they look to gain ground on two large wildfires.
Weather News - November 12, 2018, 10:03:03 AM EST
Heavy rain and thunderstorms slammed parts of Argentina over the weekend, and more is on the way through Tuesday.
Weather News - November 12, 2018, 12:03:09 PM EST
A rocket will streak across the sky over the mid-Atlantic early Thursday morning as NASA launches a spacecraft from the Virginia coast.
Weather News - November 12, 2018, 11:44:52 AM EST
Cyclonic Storm Gaja formed this weekend in the Bay of Bengal and will track westward toward southern India in the coming days.
Among the millions of veterans who serve in the U.S. armed forces are a group of specially trained meteorologists, aerographers and oceanographers who provide critical weather information for military operations.