DEVASTATING wildfires have ripped through Durango Colorado this weekend, burning more than 2,000 acres in a 24-hour period. Mandatory evacuations have been issued in the region after 1,900 homes are threatened by raging blaze. Has Durango been evacuated?
Durango firefighters are tackling a huge blaze that has ravaged more than 2,000 acres this weekend.
The large fire has ripped through southern Colorado this morning, placing thousands of lives at risk.
Rising temperatures and a prolonged drought in the area increased the risk of a fire in recent weeks, but officials have now had to evacuate more than 1,500 people from their homes.
The blaze near the San Juan National Forest rages at the same time a larger, more devastating fire ravages New Mexico, less than 250 miles south.
Has Durango been evacuated?
The Durango blaze began at around 10am on Friday, fuelled by strong winds that spread the fire south.
A release from the La Plata County government said: “Wind and weather conditions on Saturday helped to limit the physical growth of the fire, with 3-5 mph winds and gusts up to 10 mph.
“Ground crews worked to keep the fire on the west side of U.S. Highway 550 and air resources attacked the fire throughout the day. Air and ground crews will work as late into the evening as is safe and functional and the team will patrol the fire throughout the evening.”
As of Sunday, 825 homes have been evacuated by authorities, with another 760 homes under a pre-evacuation notice.
The blaze, known locally as the 416 fire, has covered more than 2,000 acres on the west side of the US Highway 550, ten miles north of Durango.
Firefighters have been attempting to stem the blaze, containing roughly ten percent this morning. More than 2 helicopters and air tankers flew over the blaze in an attempt to stop the wildfire from crossing the highway.
More than 25 firefighters are working to tackle the fire, spending most of Saturday afternoon battling the blaze.
La Plata County Emergency Management director Butch Knowlton said: “Right now, we’ve got some pretty erratic wind conditions that are associated with this afternoon’s red-flag warning.
“It’s almost a minute-by-minute situation up here. We make plans and then the wind changes on us and then we have to change our plans.”
Second fire in New Mexico splits firefighter attention
A second, larger blaze is also rampaging across northern New Mexico at the same time, destroying more than 30,000 acres across the weekend.
The fire has ravaged much of Ute Park in Colfax County, New Mexico, putting more than 300 properties at risk.
1,100 people have been evacuated from the region already as the blaze inches closer to the village of Cimarron on the border of the Santa Fe National Forest.
Local authorities issued a mandatory evacuation of Cimarron on Friday evening as the fire raged.