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
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 - January 19, 2019, 1:19:39 AM EST
A winter storm is gaining strength over the Midwest and will clobber the Northeast into Sunday with significant, widespread impacts.
Weather News - January 18, 2019, 6:54:47 PM EST
The storm is expected to deliver snow accumulations that could be the largest snowfall of the season in some places.
Weather News - January 18, 2019, 2:18:00 PM EST
As earthquakes shake regions and cause massive, unpredictable destruction, an early warning system that provides a precious few seconds of alert can be a matter of life and death.
State of emergency declared in Pennsylvania, New Jersey as Midwest, Northeast rush to finalize snowstorm preparations
Weather News - January 18, 2019, 9:05:55 PM EST
A major snowstorm is moving through the Midwest into the Northeast through this weekend, dumping mass amounts of snow and creating treacherous travel. Local officials warn communities to prepare ahead of the dangerous winter storm.
Blizzard to dish out up to 40 inches of snow in northeastern US as dangerous ice storm takes aim farther south
Weather News - January 18, 2019, 4:30:57 PM EST
A storm with feet of snow, blizzard conditions, a significant build-up of ice, tree-breaking winds and plunging temperatures will close roads, cause flight cancellations and disrupt daily activities over a large part of the northeastern United States this weekend.
Outdoor ice skating rinks aren’t just limited to colder climates that are all too familiar with blizzards and below-freezing conditions.
Weather News - January 18, 2019, 10:36:27 AM EST
A turn to more comfortable weather this weekend will not hold through the second week of the Australian Open in Melbourne, with more hot days ahead.
Weather News - January 18, 2019, 10:05:24 AM EST
Residents across Europe will be treated to a lunar eclipse right before the moon sets late Sunday night, where the weather cooperates.