Colorado 416 Fire doubles in size; 1300 homes evacuated

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An evacuation order was issued Friday morning for 304 homes on the east and west sides of U.S. Highway 550 from Electra Lake Drive north to Hermosa Cliffs Road and the north end of Two Dogs Trail subdivision. Law enforcement officials began notifying residents door to door at 9:30 a.m.

Residents have until 4 p.m.to leave the area so firefighters can check the advance of the northeast flank of the fire.

An evacuation center and shelter is open 24 hours a day at Escalante Middle School, 141 Baker Lane, in Durango.

As of Sunday afternoon, Megan Graham, spokeswoman with La Plata County, said the total number of evacuations stands at 2,156, and 373 homes and businesses are under pre-evacuation notice.

Livestock can be evacuated to the La Plata County Fairgrounds.

So far firefighters have been able to keep it west of Highway 550, and until Friday it was east of Hermosa Creek.

The fire has burned more than 11 square miles (29 square kilometers) and prompted the evacuation of up to 1,300 homes.

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Crews set controlled burns late Thursday that stopped the fire's southern side from spreading and were working the same tactic on the north side, national forest officials said.

The fire, which was first reported at 10:02 a.m. Friday, June 1 in San Juan National Forest, about 10 miles north of Durango, has since gone on to spread across more than 16,000 acres, according to La Plata County officials.

Authorities ordered the residents of 675 homes to evacuate after the fire burning north of Durango almost doubled in size overnight to 26 square miles.

"We're going to stay vigilant, and make sure there are no hot spots", said Brian Eaby, a spokesman for the Type II team battling the blaze. It continues to progress through Hermosa Creek drainage.

Beebe said about two dozen firefighters in his department have the specialized training to fight wildland fires, and will occasionally travel to help where needed. Southwest to west winds are gaining strength across southwest Colorado. No structures have been lost. Officials said a structure protection is in place, with still no reports of any injuries.

Slurry was used in an attempt to slow the fire in an attempt to battle the blaze, after several days without it.

The increase in acreage is a result of both self-imposed burnouts and natural fire growth, Eaby said. The fire in this area is behaving as predicted, according to fire authorities.

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