Colorado fire grows, prompts evacuation

(CNN)Nearly 1,400 homes have been evacuated in Summit County, Colorado as the Buffalo wildfire burns nearby, according to Summit Fire & EMS.

The fire began Tuesday and has burned 91 acres in the Arapahoe and Roosevelt National Forest, officials said.
Another 1,160 residences are on pre-evacuation notice, Summit Fire said.
“We have not lost any structures at this point,” the agency tweeted Tuesday.
The fire began 2 miles west of Silverthorne, a town with about 4,700 residents about 65 miles west of Denver.
Officials do not know what caused the fire, but there has been no lightning.
US Forest Service official Jim Genung said that fuel breaks added to the forests in recent years have saved thousands of homes from “having fire in them.”
Smoke levels Tuesday were not a safety concern, Steve Prosise with the county’s environmental health office said.
About 200 miles to the southwest in La Plata County, the 416 fire has burned more than 23,000 acres, county spokeswoman Megan Graham said. The fire is just 15% contained.
No one has been hurt and no structures have burned down, Graham said.
More than 900 people are fighting the blaze.
The fire prompted officials to close San Juan National Forest.
The forest, which covers more than 1.8 million acres in western Colorado, announced the closure is intended “to protect natural resources and public safety.”
“Under current conditions, one abandoned campfire or spark could cause a catastrophic wildfire, and we are not willing to take that chance with the natural and cultural resources under our protection and care, or with human life and property,” said Richard Bustamante, SJNF forest fire staff officer.
Anyone caught violating the closure, SJNF said, could be punished with an individual fine of up to $5,000 or $10,000 for an organization, a six-month prison sentence, or both.

State of local disaster

The 416 Fire began June 1 near Durango, Colorado. La Plata County Manager Joanne Spina declared a state of local disaster that day as a result of the fire, which led 1,500 residents to evacuate.
Graham said earlier that 2,162 structures or homes have been evacuated since the beginning of the fire, and 500 residents are currently on pre-evacuation.
The smoke from the wildfire has affected air quality, Graham said. Both state and local public health agencies have issued air quality advisories to stay inside until smoke clears, and have warned those who have health risks to be extra cautious.

The other West Coast wildfires

The 416 Fire was one of several West Coast wildfires that began around June 1.
The Ute Park Fire in New Mexico began May 31 and forced 2,200 people in the area to evacuate their homes within the first three days of the blaze.
On Tuesday, InciWeb, a federal database of US fires, showed the wildfire was 92% contained, and said Cimarron Canyon State Park will be closed through July 4. The Ute Fire has burned 36,740 acres.
No homes had burned, but 14 outbuildings have been destroyed.
A fire in California that burned almost 200 acres has been contained, officials said.

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