Fire | Some residents return home, blaze grows to 32,076 acres

Geneva Stokes
June 15, 2018

Thousands of home and businesses are being threatened by several wildfires, including at least seven raging through Colorado.

The Badger Creek Fire in southern Wyoming exploded in size.

Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona are struggling with an usually hot spring that came after a winter with little snowfall, priming the forests to burn. That blaze has destroyed one home and two outbuildings.

The fire is the largest of several burning in Colorado, including another fire that broke out nearby Friday.

Berino says "some type of human element is probably likely" as a cause, although he asked residents not to speculate.

An air tanker drops retardant on the Buffalo Fire.

San Juan County homes will remain on pre-evacuation notice, according to officials. The Buffalo Mountain Fire in the White River National Forest is an estimated 91 acres and throwing sparks and embers very close to structures in the Mesa Cortina and Wildernest neighborhoods. Though Governor John Hickenlooper tried to reassure tourists on Wednesday that it is still safe to travel to Durango, the fire is within thirteen miles of the city as of today, June 14.

Gusting winds and stubborn hot, dry weather in southwestern Colorado helped stoke a largely uncontrolled wildfire that grew by almost a third to more than 22,000 acres (8,900 hectares) on Monday, with more than 2,000 homes under evacuation order.

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More than 1,000 firefighters are responding to put the blaze out.

The Summit County Sheriff lifted the mandatory evacuation order Thursday afternoon for people in about 1,300 homes near Silverthorne. Incident Commander Todd Pechota said he plans to bring in more crews to replace outgoing firefighters.

Fires in New Mexico have also caused Forest Service authorities to close the Santa Fe National Forest and Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands.

Extreme fire danger in the southwest has prompted federal land managers to take the unusual step of indefinitely closing public access to an area of national forests larger than CT.

The Forest Service will declare a forest-wide Stage 3 fire closure.

The entire San Juan National Forest remains closed to the public due to firefighting activity. By Thursday, the fire was 95 percent contained.

Graham said earlier that 2,162 structures or homes have been evacuated since the beginning of the fire, and 500 residents are now on pre-evacuation.

"Weather is going to continue to play a role over the next few days, continuing to influence some of our decisions and the fire behavior", Jamie Knight, a 416 fire spokeswoman, told the Denver Post.

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