The 416 Fire is now at 52,778 acres after an increase of 1,710 acres Monday. As it begins its second month since it first started burning north of Durango, 363 firefighters continue efforts at 37 percent containment.
The last of pre-evacuation notices were lifted late afternoon Monday, according to a release from La Plata County.
The wildfire has grown to the size of Mesa Verde National Park under hot, dry weather that persists the region. Strong winds have not only contributed to growth but residents in the Animas River Valley, including Hermosa, can also expect dense smoke to continue through tonight and tomorrow morning.
A slight chance of rain on Friday and through the weekend could bring some relief, but not nearly the amount of a much-needed monsoon season for the Southwest. Under current conditions, the 416 Fire continues to rank higher as one of the largest wildfires in Colorado state history.
The official 416 Fire information Facebook page released a statement Friday outlining current firefighting efforts, rebuking the idea that firefighters can just “put the fire out.” A large hindrance has been the accessibility of the north and northwest perimeter, where the release said “steep, ugly country” prevents personnel rescue during emergencies.
“Mother Nature and the terrain are really in charge of what the fire does,” the release continued.
No homes have burned down from the 416 Fire.
Update (July 3): This article has been updated to include new wildfire numbers released early Tuesday.