Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Evacuations ordered for 304 homes in Electra Lake area

Evacuations ordered for 304 homes in Electra Lake area Evacuations ordered for 304 homes in Electra Lake area
Melinda Barton | 11 June, 2018, 17:54

A Colorado wildfire almost doubled in size from Saturday to Sunday and prompted hundreds more evacuations as dry and windy conditions were expected to persist, officials said.

The active fire behavior also closed Highway 550 from Cometti/Mead Lane in Hermosa to the top of Molas Pass (between mile markers 32 and 64).

Aerial operations are creating a larger burnout area on the north side of the fire to serve as a barrier should the fire spread that direction from the southwest.

Dozer lines are in place along the neighborhoods along the Highway 550 corridor.

More than 800 firefighters have been assigned to tackle to blaze.

"If firefighters or extra personnel on the fire get in trouble, then that team is there to get them out in a hurry", Aseltine explained.

Health officials have issued an air quality alert in southwestern Colorado because of heavy smoke from a wildfire.

Paul Boyer of Durango Colo. levels his camera for a shot of the plume as it rises from the wildfire near Hermosa Colo. (Jerry McBride  The Durango Herald

In this Saturday, June 9, 2018 photo, a wildfire burns on the east side of Hermosa Cliffs near Hermosa, Colo.

The week-old fire has blackened almost 8 square miles (20.7 square kilometers) about 10 miles (16 kilometers) north of Durango and is encroaching on the town of Hermosa, where residents of almost 500 homes were told to leave Thursday. This means additional resources will be deployed to contain it.

"Tomorrow (Tuesday, June 12) will be dry once again, but wind speeds should decrease".

More than 600 firefighters battled extreme conditions including hot weather, explosive fire and rugged terrain on Friday. Winds will be calm in the morning until around 10:30 a.m., and will increase to 10 to 15 miles per hour from the west/southwest in the afternoon. And the Natty fire, which covered 70 acres near Cañon City in south-central Colorado, had been 70 percent contained.

The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for most of Colorado on Saturday, signifying high fire danger.

In 2017, a near-record 10 million acres were burned in USA wildfires, the National Interagency Coordination Center said. Visibility is expected to be a quarter mile or less. When moderate to heavy smoke is present, residents should consider limiting physical exertion and time outside, according to San Juan Basin Public Health advisories. Small animals are being accepted at the La Plata County Humane Society. If visibility is less than 5 miles, smoke has reached levels that are unhealthful.