416 Fire update– Saturday night– 8961 acres

Fire

How big is that fire?  Who knows, but watch it grow…

As of around 9 pm on  Saturday night it was 8961 acres and growing!  Wow, this fire has already had a very explosive run and with 10% containment– this is far from over.
These important facts about the fire’s size and containment was gathered form the US Forestry’s Incident website:  https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5822
Use this important resource to help stay in touch with the fire’s evolution.
San Juan health department also is keeping us abreast of health issues like air quality.  Their  website address for fire updates can be found: https://sjbpublichealth.org/416-fire-updates
This cutting is from their Air Quality Health Advisory page…
Durango, Colo. – Unhealthy levels of smoke have been observed throughout large parts of La Plata
County Saturday morning, particularly along the Animas River from the fire location southward to the
New Mexico state line. This will impact locations including Hermosa, Durango and the Southern Ute
Reservation. The smoke will gradually decrease Saturday morning as atmospheric mixing
increases. By Saturday afternoon smoke will begin to move in a northeasterly direction, which will bring periods of moderate to heavy smoke to rural parts of northeastern La Plata County, along with large sections of San Juan and Hinsdale Counties. This will likely impact locations such as Silverton and Lake
City Saturday afternoon and evening. Late Saturday night the winds will calm, and smoke will again
drain southward along the Animas River and produce moderate to heavy smoke Sunday morning in
areas such as Hermosa, Durango and points southward to the New Mexico state line. continued… 
http://sjbpublichealth.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/416-Fire-Health-Advisory-6.9.18.pdf 
All of us La Plata county residents are feeling the pain… some more than others.  I was at the market today and of course everyone was talking about the fire, their pre-evac plans or folks who needed space.  The lady cashier was an exception and when she gaily asked the customer before me how he was doing he told her that he had better days.  She asked me and I told her I felt challenged..  I asked her how she was doing and she said Fantastic.  I told her she probably was not from here. And she answered “no I am not I am from Pagosa.”
Then I told her that I had foolishly slept with my windows open in my home in the east side of North Valley and was awakened to notice I had stopped breathing and had extreme heart palpitations as a reaction to the toxic smoke.  My doctor was kind enough to see me on a busy day and let me know I had a bronchial spasm in reaction to the toxic smoke. Fortunately I am breathing better today and though my event mimicked a mild heart attack my event was a closing of my airway reacting to the toxic smoke.  Doctor said that folks who fought forest fires for years (as I did in my youth) were more subject to this kind of thing.  Doctor is from Kansas and said his wife from Bayfield had talked him into moving to Colorado.  “Was the wife right?” I asked. “Not if our house burns down!” he answered.
So to consider steps we can take to stay safe… check in with good websites and stay informed.  AND
So hey 1) close the window ____________________. (fill in the blank, here I am talking to myself and my word is not fit to print in a family oriented publication…  I should have known better as a former Civil Service Fireman and crewleader of a 17 man forest fire fighting handcrew).  OUCH.
2) if you have to go outside when the smoke is heavy, wear a bandana or protection.
3) do your best to limit your time outside during heavy smoke concentrations.
4)  note that children and the elderly as especially susceptible to problems from the smoke.  This issue does apply to younger and older pets as well.
5)  Personally I PRAY… as prayer makes a difference.  “Oh Father God, Creator of the Universe, hold us safely in your loving hands.  Deliver us from evil.  Protect us from harm.  Bless each of us that we may know your GRACE, and please bring SPRING RAINS as soon as possible.  We ask for your loving care and grace upon your forests, your rivers, your mountains, you wildlife, your humanity– and our mountain community of Durango and our surrounding areas.  Let there be PEACE, LOVE, PROTECTION, GRACE and RENEWAL.  Amen
Sam Rose
Durango Downtown Contributor
Sam can be reached at sam@durangodowntown.com
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