Fire expected to hit homes on Friday

Durango fire updates: How many people have been evacuated? What causes a wildfire?

Firefighters plan to use pre-positioned sprinkler systems, fire hoses and fire engines, as well as aircraft, to protect the homes.

La Plata County officials said there are 813 people fighting the fire. At least 675 homes are affected by the new evacuations.

On Sunday evening, fire officials said the fire was acting as predicted and burning actively and intensely with wind gusts of up to 35 to 40 miles per hour on ridges.

The so-called 416 Fire in southwest Colorado had burned almost 17,000 acres by Sunday morning, an area larger than Manhattan. Law enforcement officers began knocking on the doors of homes at 10 a.m. Friday on the east and west sides of US 550 from Electra Lake Drive north to Hermosa Cliffs Road and to the north end of Two Dogs Trail.

Neither do the other thousands of people who've been evacuated because of this fire that's sending smoke billowing through the sky and shutting down the San Juan National Forest starting Tuesday.

The 416 fire north of Durango grew by 1,511 acres overnight Friday, totaling almost 8,700 acres with 10 percent containment, officials said Saturday.

The 416 Fire grew significantly on the west and northwest sides on Sunday. A second evacuation check-in site is open from 9 a.m.to 4 p.m. daily at the Silverton Town Hall, 1360 Greene Street in Silverton.

Monday is expected to be dry again, but wind speeds should decrease. No structures had been lost as of Friday morning. Evacuated residents are asked to check in at the evacuation center to receive credentials for re-entry when conditions allow the evacuation order to be lifted. The combination of weather and fuel conditions created the potential for significant fire intensity and growth. And the Natty fire, which covered 70 acres near Cañon City in south-central Colorado, had been 70 percent contained. Durango was operating an evacuation center and a shelter and taking in livestock at the La Plata County Fairgrounds.

Officials also said U.S. Highway 550 will be closed indefinitely due to evacuations. Small animals are being accepted at the La Plata County Humane Society, 1111 South Camino del Rio, Durango (970) 259-2847.

Firefighters issued the evacuation of almost 500 homes in the town of Hermosa Thursday.as the 416 fire continues to burn in the nearby city of Durango.

The fire, which was first reported at 10:02 a.m. Friday, June 1 in San Juan National Forest, about 10 miles north of Durango, has since gone on to spread across more than 16,000 acres, according to La Plata County officials.

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