416 Fire information and resources

416 Fire resources and information
Posted on 06/19/2018

The 416 Fire was measured at 34,161 acres Tuesday morning and containment increased to 35%. There are a total of 1,111 firefighters assigned to the fire.


Beginning at 11 a.m. Tuesday, evacuated residents in the Falls Creek Ranch and High Meadows subdivision were allowed to return home. County Road 205 remains open only to residents with RapidTag credentials from the checkpoint north. This area remains under pre-evacuation orders.

Evacuation orders were lifted Sunday for residents and businesses in the Hermosa area. This includes County Roads 201 and 202 and County Road 203 north from Cometti/Mead Lane south to Trimble Lane. At 8 a.m. Sunday, evacuation orders were lifted for residents and businesses on both the east and west sides of U.S. Highway 550 from Glacier Club to Needles. This includes Haviland Lake, Electra Lake, and Lakewood Meadows.

 

Additionally, the pre-evacuation orders for this area and all areas from the west side of County Road 203 east to the Animas River and north through San Juan County have been lifted.

Highway 550 is open to all traffic in both directions.

 

Pre-evacuation notices remain in place for residences and businesses in the following areas:

  • The west side of County Road 203 from Trimble Lane south to its intersection with Highway 550

  • The 1000 block of County Road 204 at Sailing Hawks, northwest to the Colorado Trail access.

  • County Road 205 north from its intersection with County Road 204 to the Falls Creek Ranch Subdivision entrance.

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The fire was reported at 10:02 a.m. Friday, June 1 about 10 miles north of Durango on the west side of U.S. Highway 550. The Rocky Mountain Type II Incident Management Team Blue assumed command of the 416 Fire at 6 a.m. Sunday, June 3. The Rocky Mountain Type 1 Incident Management Team took command of the fire at 6 a.m. Saturday, June 9.

 

Evacuees who have received residential credentials can visit the Durango Food Bank, 194 Bodo Dr., Suite C, (970) 375-2672, for food and supplies.

The primary goal for the 416 Fire management is to safeguard lives and property in affected areas. Fires are very dangerous places for responders to operate. For the following reasons, evacuations remain in place to allow for safe and effective fire operations:

  • Reduced visibility requires keeping roadways closed for hundreds of personnel to safely operate and rapidly respond to changing fire needs.

  • Minimizing hazards and enhancing access is essential in order to maintain the high pace of work in this dangerous environment.

  • Air operations are similarly dangerous. With multiple aircraft operating on the fire, it is imperative for safety to minimize ground hazards.

  • Wildland fire conditions change extremely rapidly. Keeping residents out of harm’s way until hazards can be resolved is essential to allow responders and resources to focus on containment and mitigation of fire hazards.

Again, safeguarding lives and property are the primary goal. Please continue to exercise patience, cooperation, and understanding as responders take on risk to protect our community.

 

The Durango Food Bank is making food and supplies available to those who have been evacuated, and is accepting donations to help fill those needs. Drop off donations at 194 Bodo Dr., Suite C. The Community Foundation is accepting monetary donations for the Community Emergency Relief Fund (CERF).  This fund is set up for broad-based community emergencies in Southwest Colorado. To donate to CERF, send a check to The Community Foundation, P.O. Box 1673, Durango, CO 81302 or donate online at www.swcommunityfoundation.org

 

For those who received a pre-evacuation notice, the following steps can improve your safety and expedite departure should an evacuation become necessary. San Juan Basin Public Health also has extensive resources to plan for evacuation and emergencies: https://sjbpublichealth.org/epr/.

 

Inside the house:

  • Gather medications

  • Pack a bag with clothing and essentials

  • Shut off air conditioning and fans

  • Shut all windows and doors before leaving

  • If you have time, gather paperwork and photographs that cannot be replaced

 

Outside the house:

  • Gather flammable items and bring them inside (patio furniture, children’s toys, door mats, trash cans, etc.)

  • Move propane BBQ appliances away from structures.

  • Connect garden hoses to outside water valves or spigots for use by firefighters.

  • Fill water buckets and place them around the house.

  • Don’t leave sprinklers or water running; this can affect critical water pressure

  • Leave exterior lights on so your home is visible to firefighters in the smoke or darkness of night.

  • Back your car into the driveway with vehicle loaded and all doors and windows closed. Carry your car keys with you.

 

Animals:

  • Locate your pets and keep them nearby.

  • Prepare livestock for transport and plan to move them to a safe location early

  • Pack food and medications for your pets

 

The La Plata County Board of County Commissioners enacted Stage 3 fire restrictions Tuesday, June 12. In addition to maintaining previous restrictions, Stage 3 will add the following additional closures/restrictions/ prohibitions:

 

  1. The closure of all La Plata County owned trails, encampments, open space, and unimproved lands.

  2. Those agricultural producers exempt from fire bans pursuant to C.R.S. §§ 30-15-401(n.5)(III) and 35-28-104(11) may perform agricultural burning only with 48 hours prior notification to the appropriate fire chief or the Sheriff.

  3. Indoor fire places and wood-burning stoves without an approved interior and exterior chimney spark arrestor.

  4. The sale, discharge or use of any kind of firework or other pyrotechnic device (including 4th of July celebrations).

  5. The use of floating sky lanterns, fire balloons or acetylene balloons.

  6. Discharge of firearms or the use of exploding targets, unless under the circumstances described in C.R.S. § 30-15-302.

  7. Blasting in development areas or construction areas.

  8. The use of an explosive, blasting caps, or any other incendiary device, including the use of any model rockets.

  9. Flaring for oil and gas production wells.

  10. Operation of coal-fired steam engines.

 

Certain exemptions apply to these prohibitions.  They include:

 

  1. Any federal, state or local officer or member of an organized rescue or firefighting force in the performance of an official duty.

  2. Flaring at centralized processing and compressing facilities is permitted so long as all conditions and requirements issued by applicable regulators are satisfied;

  3. Emergency repair of public utilities.

  4. Fires permitted by the Sheriff or local Fire Chiefs within their jurisdiction, if, in their professional opinions, such action is appropriate, safe and prudent. 

County Manager Joanne Spina proclaimed a state of local disaster in the unincorporated areas of La Plata County, pursuant to her authority as chief executive officer of La Plata County. Spina’s proclamation is due to the 416 Fire, ongoing exceptional drought conditions, and the potential for additional wildfires in the 2018 fire season.  The La Plata County Board of County Commissioners extended this proclamation of the state of local disaster for an additional 60 days on Tuesday, June 5.

 

The effect of this declaration is to activate the response and recovery aspects of any and all applicable local and inter-jurisdictional disaster emergency plans and to authorize the furnishing of aid and assistance under those plans.

 

This winter, snowfall in the Animas River basin was less than 40% of average, and this week, Southwest Colorado's snowpack is just 3% of historic average.  We have been experiencing above-average temperatures, hot dry winds with low humidity and very little rain this spring.  As of May 29, the weather station at the Durango-La Plata County Airport had recorded 1.41 inches of precipitation in 2018, nearly 4 inches below the historic average for that time period. 

 

In April, these factors prompted La Plata County to be classified in “exceptional drought” conditions – the most intense of five drought levels.  These drought conditions have persisted and the fuels (grass, brush and trees) in La Plata County are extremely dry and can produce explosive fire growth and behavior. 

 

Please sign up to receive emergency notifications, including evacuation and pre-evacuation notices, on your cell phone or via email: bit.ly/CodeRed_signup.

 

Please follow @416fire and @LaPlataCounty on Facebook or @LaPlataCountyCO on Twitter for continual updates.