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416 fire near Durango grows to nearly 26,000 acres

By: Jonathan Romeo, The Durango Herald
June 13, 2018 Updated: June 13, 2018 at 10:28 am
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The Forest Service officially closed the entire San Juan National Forest to the public on Tuesday. La Plata County, the city of Durango and Colorado Parks and Wildlife also enacted restrictions on the use of public lands. Photo by Jerry McBride, The Durango Herald.

Multiple media sources Wednesday are reporting that the 416 fire has now burned 25,900 acres and is 15 percent contained.

More than 900 firefighters are fighting the fire in rough and inaccessible terrain. 

In an effort to prevent more catastrophic wildfires, government agencies Tuesday enacted unprecedented regulations, closing public lands to outdoor recreation.

Extreme drought, extreme wildfire danger and two active, uncontrolled fires prompted fire officials and local leaders to send a clear message: Public lands must be closed to recreation to prevent the outbreak of additional fires that would drain resources to fight the 416 and Burro fires.

As of Tuesday, the 416 fire had burned more than 23,000 acres north of Durango, and the Burro Fire had burned more than 2,600 acres northeast of Dolores. The edges of the fires are mere miles apart.

“We’re seeing fire behavior on an epic scale,” Durango Fire Protection District Chief Hal Dougherty said to La Plata County commissioners on Tuesday. “We have a great deal of concern for further limiting the economic diversity of our community but ... any misstep could cause us to have another fire.”

On Tuesday, the Forest Service officially closed the entire San Juan National Forest to the public indefinitely. The closure order, which was enacted through Stage 3 fire restrictions, closed campgrounds, day-use areas, roads and trails. Hiking, dispersed camping and other recreational activities are also not allowed.

Read more at The Durango Herald

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