Published: Thu, June 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Thousands evacuated as raging wildfire devastates Colorado homes

Thousands evacuated as raging wildfire devastates Colorado homes

The Buffalo Fire that began burning near Silverthorne Tuesday and prompted the evacuation of over 1,300 homes was human-caused, according to authorities.

The communities of Mountain Home, Wold Tract, and Wycolo are under evacuation orders from Albany County officials. It's burned more than 27,000 acres and is only 15 percent contained.

Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands officials said Monday that the shutdown - starting as early as Friday - will remain in effect pending a significant amount of moisture and subsequent decreases in fire danger.

The photographer said the couple had to move the spot of the wedding because of the fire and made a decision to use the fire for a backdrop. Until then, all 1.8 million acres, including the Piedra Area and the Weminuche and South San Juan wilderness areas, remain off limits. Those who violate the closure and are caught inside the forest could face a fine of $5,000 and six months in prison.

"We recognize the conditions are dry and hot", Gov. John HIckenlooper said in a statement.

The largest and most threatening blaze, a 12-day-old conflagration dubbed the 416 Fire, has scorched more than 9,460 hectares of drought-parched grass, brush and timber at the edge of the San Juan National Forest near the southwestern Colorado town of Durango. "Our state agencies are here to support you".

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The fire had not destroyed any homes as of Tuesday night. "We are scouting on foot and by air for the best location to dive into Bear Creek with hand crews", Seekins said.

The Cibola National Forest announcement won't affect Albuquerque Open Space trails until those trails cross into the National Forest, said Philip Clelland, a spokesman for Albuquerque Parks and Recreation Department. Forest managers use several criteria to determine when to implement restrictions and closures, including fuel moistures, current and predicted weather, values at risk from wildfire, fire activity levels, and available firefighting resources. This year, almost 24,000 wildfires have burned more than 1.7 million acres across the country.

The more than 800 firefighters working that blaze have employed every measure in the book to keep homes along the perimeter out of harm's way, including burning grasses and bushes ahead of the fire, bulldozing and shoveling fire breaks, dropping retardant from a small fleet of aircraft and installing sprinkling systems.

More burnouts are expected on the southwest perimeter of the fire near Junction Creek Road (County Road 204) in an effort to create a safe burn zone for the fire and eventually a containment line.

A fire in California that burned nearly 200 acres has been contained, officials said.

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