Fire evacuations lifted in San Juan Co. Wednesday

Fire evacuations lifted in San Juan Co. Wednesday

As of Monday night, the fire was 15 percent contained, the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team said.

Moab residents Tim Clark and his girlfriend Tina Saunders grabbed their dogs, family photos and a laptop, evacuating with their home in flames.

The Buffalo Fire near Silverthorne has burned 91 acres and forced thousands to evacuate on Tuesday.

In southern Wyoming near the Colorado border, the so-called Badger Creek Fire in Medicine Bow National Forest grew as evacuation orders were expanded to almost 400 homes in Albany County, according to the online USA fire information service.

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.

Residents of almost 860 homes were ordered to flee on Sunday, bringing to about 2,000 the number of dwellings placed under evacuation, said spokeswoman Megan Graham for La Plata County, Colorado. Winds out of the west are expected to gust to 25 miles per hour.

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"We pray that nobody goes up there and starts a fire", she said.

Officials placed the Mesa Cortina and Wildernest neighborhoods under the mandatory evacuation Tuesday, KUSA-TV reported.

A community meeting was scheduled to take place at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Silverthorne Town Hall.

We're told a Moab firefighter's home was among those burned.

Authorities have issued a forest-wide closure order in Colorado, warning residents and ramblers to stay out of the forest while the threat of wildfires remain high.

The report said containment was not expected before the end of the month.

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Due to the extreme fire danger, the U.S. Forest Service closed the entire, almost 3,000-square-mile San Juan National Forest to the public on Tuesday.

The fire danger had already shut down national forests and parks in Arizona and New Mexico, the AP reported.

The forest, which covers more than 1.8 million acres in western Colorado, announced Tuesday the Stage 3 closure is "to protect natural resources and public safety" because of the danger of the blaze known as the 416 Fire.

Bianchi said the Buffalo Fire had come to within about 200 yards (183 meters) of a subdivision that includes condos, apartments and pricey homes. "Multiple aircraft are actively dropping water and retardant at this time", county fire officials said. By Thursday, the fire was 95 percent contained.

Officials said the blaze was initially emitting embers that were starting spot fires within about 250 feet of homes and structures.

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