San Juan Forest to close indefinitely

Aaron Brown
June 15, 2018

Albany County officials issued evacuation orders for the communities of Mountain Home, Wold Tract, WyoColo, Foxpark, Gramm, Beehive, Miller Lake, and the areas along Highway 10 from Woods Landing south to the Colorado state line. Winds out of the west are expected to gust to 25 miles per hour.

Firefighters, who have been concentrating much of their efforts on protecting homes and structures, have not been able to gain any containment of the fire, mainly because of strong winds driving the blaze.

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

"We were just happy to get back".

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

Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona are struggling with an usually hot spring that came after a winter with little snowfall, priming the forests to burn.

Images from the scene showed thick smoke pouring into the air and aerial firefighting resources trying to tamp down the blaze.

The Buffalo Fire that began burning near Silverthorne Tuesday and prompted the evacuation of over 1,300 homes was human-caused, according to authorities.

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Voos says 393 homes in the area have been evacuated since the fire in the Medicine Bow National Forest was first reported on Sunday.

The fire burning 10 miles north of Durango had consumed 42 square miles as of Thursday morning and was 15 percent contained. More than 900 people are fighting the blaze, officials said.

All 1.8 million acres of the San Juan National Forest in southwestern Colorado were due to be closed to visitors by Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said, citing the fire danger.

Elsewhere, the San Juan Basin Public Health is advising people to remain indoors if the smoke from the fire becomes too thick and to limit outdoor activity, especially among those with heart disease, respiratory illnesses, the very young and the elderly.

The closures in Bernalillo County mark the latest as national forests and state parks in New Mexico and elsewhere across the West have been put off limits while dry conditions and the threat of wildfire persist.

"You never know with fire behavior how long you are going to be down there". Officials are crediting fuel breaks in helping contain the fire, a system that has been in place since 2007.

Meanwhile, a fire in southern Wyoming that burned 8.2 square miles (21 square kilometers) has destroyed some structures.

At this time the cause of the fire is unknown, but the origin of the fire is near Forest Road 501, and between Badger Creek and the North Fork of Pelton Creek.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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