Colorado wildfire forces more evacuations

Durango fire updates How many people have been evacuated

As of Friday evening, no structures were threatened and no evacuation orders had been issued.

Gusting winds driving the flames of a largely uncontrolled wildfire are expected to keep fanning the blaze through an 11th day on Monday on the bone-dry hills of southwest Colorado, where more than 2,000 homes have already been evacuated. At least 675 homes are affected by the new evacuations. Crews underwent a successful burnout operation on the southwest side of the fire overnight that lasted until midnight, Eaby said. Officials said a structure protection is in place, with still no reports of any injuries.

The large wildfire has prompted the evacuation of an additional 859 homes in the Purgatory/Durango Mountain Resort, Lake Purgatory, Silver Pick Lodge, Cascade Village, and Mill Creek areas.

Durango fire updates How many people have been evacuated
REUTERS Wildfires also spread through New Mexico over the last week too

Aircraft are monitoring the fire's west flank.

No structures have been lost.

The Haines Index, used by firefighters to assess the stability and dryness of air over fires, is at its maximum level of six, officials said. Crews will continue to monitor and battle the blaze near County Road 201 to make sure the fire doesn't get out of hand in the area.

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As of Saturday morning, the Bureau of Land Management said the Natty Fire was 30 percent contained.

Kelsey Griffee, public information officer for the 416 Fire, said fire officials on Sunday evening do not think it is likely that the 416 Fire will merge with the Burro Fire, which is burning 10 miles to the west near Dolores. The combination of weather and fuel conditions created the potential for significant fire intensity and growth.

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. Gusts are expected to be between 15-20 miles per hour at the fire, and Durango is expecting a high of 84 degrees, said Michael Charnick with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction.

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La Plata County's latest order follows the evacuation of more than 1,000 homes earlier along U.S. Highway 550, a key artery connecting the cities of Durango and Silverton, roughly 135 miles (217 kilometers) northwest of the Four Corners Monument that connects Colorado with Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. Smoke is expected to be heaviest in the U.S. Highway 550 corridor from Molas Pass through Durango and down to the New Mexico line, as well as the U.S. Highway 160 corridor between Hesperus and Bayfield, extending east past Pagosa Springs.

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