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416 Fire Growing at About 1000 Acres Per Day

Eric Bader
416 Fire Facebook Page

The 416 Fire north of Durango is more than 4,000 acres in size and is still just 10 percent contained. It has been growing about 1,000 acres a day. The fire is burning in steep terrain near Hermosa. San Juan National Forest PIO Anne Janik tells KSJD a number of resources are being deployed.

“They have about 598 firefighters on the fire, they have one air tanker, they have two Chinooks dropping water and also a fixed-wing aircraft that is dropping retardant,” she says.

The Durango Herald reports that neighbors say the blaze was sparked by the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge train, which is powered by a coal-fired locomotive. However, the cause remains under investigation and is officially listed as unknown. The Durango & Silverton train has suspended operations through June 17th.

The Colorado Department of Public Health has issued air-quality advisories because of heavy smoke through large portions of La Plata County south to the New Mexico state line and also in parts of San Juan and Hinsdale counties. The San Juan National Forest has implemented Stage 2 fire restrictions banning all open fires.

Meanwhile, a number of other wildfires continue to rage through the Four Corners states. The Ute Park Fire in northern New Mexico was at nearly 37,000 acres and 30 percent containment Wednesday. Another 37,000-acre fire in western New Mexico, the Buzzard Fire, was about half contained.

Gail Binkly is a career journalist who has worked for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Cortez Journal, and was the editor of the Four Corners Free Press, based in Cortez.
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