Forest Closed and Thousands Evacuated as Colorado Wildfires Grow

Entire San Juan National Forest To Be Closed To Public

Eyewitness images reveal devastation of Colorado wildfires (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

Almost 1,400 homes have been evacuated in Summit County, Colorado, and over 1,000 other homes could be in danger as the Buffalo Mountain wildfire burns nearby, according to Summit Fire & EMS.

Compared to the large 416 Fire burning near Durango, the Buffalo Fire is fairly small, burning roughly 100 acres as of Wednesday.

A 32-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 550, which has served as a buffer for homes on the eastern edge of the fire, was closed, officials said.

"Residents of over 2,000 homes have been ordered to evacuate because of a fire that started in the forest north of Durango, which doubled in size to about 25 square miles over the weekend".

Residents of the Mesa Cortina and Wildernest subdivisions were allowed to return home. Another 1,160 homes are on pre-evacuation notice.

"We were just happy to get back".

About 50 firefighters were battling the blaze initially, but more were on the way, along with heavy air tankers and helicopters.

Despite the scale of the 416, there still has been no reports of any deaths or injuries and no homes have burned down.

The Tank Fire has burned through 125 acres in a matter of hours according to the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management
The Tank Fire has burned through 125 acres in a matter of hours according to the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management

The west side of the 416 Fire is burning at over 8,000 feet in terrain that is hard for ground resources.

In southwest Colorado, officials told residents of almost 350 homes to be prepared to leave if dry thunderstorms, high heat and gusty winds spread a wildfire that has blackened more than 50 square miles (130 square kilometers) and is seen as extremely unsafe for firefighters.

Incident commander Todd Pechota told evacuated residents Saturday that the situation is "going to get worse before it gets better", the Herald reported.

In New Mexico, the Santa Fe National Forest, along with portions of three national park sites, closed June 1 because of the fire danger.

The fire began Tuesday about 2 miles west of Silverthorne, a town with about 4,700 residents and about 65 miles west of Denver.

Smoke hanging over the Buffalo Mountain Fire as seen from the intersection of Highway 6 and Dillon Dam Road, June 12, 2018. Stables for evacuated horses are being offered by Albany County Fairgrounds or Glen w-Stonehouse Stables, according to the Forest Service.

The cause of the blaze, which is being called the 416 Fire, which started June 1 in the San Juan National Forest, has not been determined.

Meanwhile, a fire in southern Wyoming that burned 8.2 square miles (21 square kilometers) has destroyed some structures. Fire danger on the SJNF remains very high due to exceptional drought and fuel conditions.

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