Remnants of hurricane help crews at Colorado, Wyoming wildfires | SteamboatToday.com
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Remnants of hurricane help crews at Colorado, Wyoming wildfires

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DURANGO — A welcome dose of rain spawned by a hurricane that churned through the Pacific has given a boost in the battle against two large wildfires in Colorado and Wyoming.

416 Fire

• Size: 34,161
• Containment: 30 percent
• Location: 13 miles north of Durango
• Start date: June 1
• Cause: unknown
• More info: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5822/
• Photos: https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/416Fire/

The remnants of Hurricane Bud slowed the growth of the a fire in southwest Colorado, which has blackened more than 50 square miles and is 25 percent contained, The Durango Herald reported Sunday.

Butch Knowlton, director of La Plata County Emergency Management, said Bud provided the perfect amount of rain, helping firefighters increase containment. But Scot Davis, a spokesman for the team coordinating firefighters, warned of the misconception that rain has doused the fire.

He said it kept the blaze from spreading, but crews are still putting out hot embers that could ignite dry trees, grass and shrubs.

Fire officials also are worried that rain could cause flash floods in the burn scar, which now has much less vegetation to hold back runoff.

“It’s going to come down at some point,” Davis said at a community meeting Sunday morning.

The fire started June 1 about 10 miles north of Durango in the Four Corners Region where Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Utah meet. The area is the epicenter of a large swath of land in the U.S. Southwest that is experiencing exceptional drought.

At one point, the blaze forced the evacuation of 2,200 homes, none of which has burned. It also triggered the closure of the San Juan National Forest, which is comprised of more than 2,800 square miles.

Badger Creek Fire

• Size: 20,090 acres
• Containment: 85 percent
• Location: Snowy Range and Medicine Bow National Forests, Wyoming (Evacuations have extended to the Colorado state line.)
• Start date: June 10
• Cause: unknown
• More info: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5836/
• Photos: https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/BadgerCreekFire/

Weekend rainstorms also helped crews to the north in their fight against a wildfire that destroyed one home and has burned more than 30 square miles.

The fire in southern Wyoming near the Colorado border was 62 percent contained Sunday, and firefighters were taking advantage of the moisture to extinguish remaining hot spots near structures and to cut additional containment lines.

Late last week, the flames moved from dense forests full of beetle-killed trees into areas with mostly grass and brush that burn with less intensity.

Update on other wildfires burning across Colorado

Burro Fire

• Size: 3,715 acres
• Containment: 12 percent
• Location: San Juan National Forest
• Start date: June 8
• Cause: under investigation
• More info: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5834/
• Photos: https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/BurroFire/

Crews battling the Burro Fire took a break from their usual firefighting work on Sunday after a storm dumped an inch of rain in the Bear Creek area.

No flight to map the fire was conducted on Saturday night because of cloud cover. The size of the fire was unchanged at 3,715 acres, and containment remained at 12 percent.

Fire behavior on the Burro and 416 fires was expected to be limited on Sunday, with little or no growth. The probability of ignition was estimated to be less than 10 percent.

On Saturday, crews benefited from .2 inch of rain, and on Sunday, about an inch. The rain, which fell hardest after midnight Saturday continued until about 8 a.m. Sunday, was about double the “wetting rain” threshold of a half-inch for timber in a dense tree canopy.

Read the full story at DurangoHerald.com.

Horse Park Fire

• Size: 1,221 acres
• Containment: 90 percent
• Location: 15 miles southwest of Norwood
• Start date: May 26
• Cause: lightning
• More info: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5819/
• Photos: https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/HorseParkFire/

Bocco Fire

• Size: 415 acres
• Containment: 100 percent
• Location: 3 miles northwest of Wolcott
• Start date: June 9
• Cause: unknown
• More info: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5835/
• Photos: https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/BoccoFire/

The 415-acre Bocco Mountain fire is 100 percent contained, but three people the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office want to question are not — at least not yet.

Detectives with the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office want to speak with a group who were seen near the Wolcott gun range around mid-afternoon Saturday, June 9, just before the Bocco fire was ignited. They were also associated with two vehicles seen on site

A blue Toyota Tacoma with a “bully bar” push bumper in front.

A white or silver sedan, possibly an Audi.

Read the full story at VailDaily.com.

Buffalo Mountain Fire

• Size: 91 acres
• Containment: 95 percent
• Location: 2 miles west of Silverthorne
• Start date: June 12
• Cause: unknown
• More info: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5841/
• Photos: https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/BuffaloFire/

Local, state and federal officials met with Summit County residents at Silverthorne Elementary School on Saturday for the final Buffalo Mountain Fire community meeting. During the meeting, officials said that wildland firefighters were still working on the fire but that rain and cooler conditions have helped crews get 95 percent containment, and they no longer consider it a grave threat to people.

Fire breaks built by the U.S. Forest Service and the strong early response were keys to ensuring that no lives or homes were lost. External resources such as aircraft, Hotshot crews and other fire crews have been relieved, and incident command will be transferred from the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Blue Team back to local authorities on Sunday morning.

Incident commander Jay Esperance lauded the preparation and hard work of local authorities, saying that Summit County was “ahead of everyone” when it comes to preparing their community for wildfires.

Read the full story at SummitDaily.com.


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