Published: Fri, June 15, 2018
World Media | By Cesar Oliver

Colorado wildfires displace thousands, prompt national forest closure

Colorado wildfires displace thousands, prompt national forest closure

The closure order is expected to be signed Tuesday, June 12, 2018 and remain in effect until the forest receives sufficient moisture to improve conditions.

Thousands of home and businesses are being threatened by several wildfires, including at least seven raging through Colorado.

The fire began Tuesday about 2 miles west of Silverthorne, a town with about 4,700 residents about 65 miles west of Denver.

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

We're told a Moab firefighter's home was among those burned. Fire danger on the SJNF remains very high due to exceptional drought and fuel conditions.

Firefighters are getting some help from firefighting aircraft as they try to stop the fire early.

A new wildfire burning in Colorado's mountains is dangerously close to a ski resort town.

Though thunderstorms in the next few days could bring much-needed moisture to the area, officials are anxious the storm could bring lightning and gusty winds that lead to unpredictable fire behavior.

"I ask the public to continue to be flexible knowing our goal is to open the highway and allow people back to their homes", La Plata County Sheriff Sean Smith said. He says the developments are densely populated, serving as homes for area workers, rather than having sprawling vacation homes.

Officials have requested what they called a "big air attack" with their hopes pinned on keeping the fire from jumping the established fire break around the neighborhoods.

Colorado's San Juan National Forest has been closed to the public to try to prevent another catastrophic wildfire in the extremely dry U.S. Southwest.

The San Juan and Santa Fe forests alone represent more than 5,000 square miles.

Fires in New Mexico have also caused Forest Service authorities to close the Santa Fe National Forest and Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands.

Officials said the blaze was initially emitting embers that were starting spot fires within about 250 feet of homes and structures. Forest managers use several criteria to determine when to implement restrictions and closures, including fuel moistures, current and predicted weather, values at risk from wildfire, fire activity levels, and available firefighting resources.

The City of Pueblo also said it will be deploying a Type 1 fire apparatus to assist with fire, including four personnel Tuesday evening.

The fire burned from its origin to more than six miles to the north and east and prompted county officials to issue additional evacuation notices, according to Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests & Thunder Basin National Grassland spokesman Aaron Voos.

Like this: