The 416 Fire grew to 7,180 acres as of Friday morning and remained at 10 percent contained. Here are five things you need to know.
Article courtesy of Alex Semadeni / Durango Herald Staff Writer
1) Evacuation Notices
The 416 fire has prompted over 1,000 evacuations and more than 1,500 pre-evacuation notices. Homes in the Hermosa area from north of Cometti/Mead Lane to the intersection of County Road 250C and U.S. Highway 550. It also includes residents from Bakers Bridge at County Road 250 north to Electra Lake Road.
A pre-evacuation notice was issued south of Mead/Cometti Lane to Trimble Lane, including Falls Creek Ranch, Hidden Meadows, Dalton Ranch north of Trimble Lane, Durango Regency, Red Rock Range, and Estancia. Homes and businesses from Electra Lake Road to Meadow View Drive also remain on pre-evacuation notice. This includes residents on Electra Lake Road, Purgatory, Durango Mountain Resort, Cascade Village, Celadon, Red Tail Mountain Ranch, Elkhorn Mountain, Pine Acres, and Animas Village neighborhoods and subdivisions.
2) Firefighters are prioritizing structure protection
A majority of the roughly 600 firefighters spent their time in the Hermosa area Thursday undergoing mitigation efforts to protect homes in the area. Crews have been cutting vegetation, turning on sprinklers, and building safe spaces around homes using hand crews and dozers. Since the fire broke out June 1, crews have been creating defensible spaces around homes in the area. Firefighters spent the first couple days along the Highway 550 corridor protecting structures across the highway in case a spot fire jumped the highway.
3) The fire might be here for awhile
A Type I federal firefighting team will assume command over firefighting efforts at 6 a.m. Saturday. The fire, which has remained 10 percent contained, is in a steep and rocky region which makes it difficult for firefighters to directly engage, and slurry bombs haven’t been an effective dousing method. More than 600 firefighters have been fighting the fire, with more expected to arrive with the Type I team. The steep terrain, combined with the extremely dry weather conditions in the area, means the fire could be active for a while.
4) Highway 550
Highway 550 will remain open with limited access from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. A police escort will guide vehicles in one lane. Residences on evacuation notice won’t be allowed back into their homes. The highway was reopened with limited access on Sunday. The highway could shut down at any time based on weather conditions. The highway was shut down Monday afternoon for smoky conditions.
San Juan Basin Public Health has issued an air-quality health advisory. People with problems breathing should consider limiting outdoor activity. People with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should avoid prolonged exposure to the smoke. The smoke typically is worse in the mornings, as afternoon winds carry the smoke elsewhere. Mercy Regional Medical Center staff have not seen any patients suffering symptoms of smoke exposure.