Colorado wildfire spreads as winds strengthen

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The fire's southwest flank has now moved into North Buck Creek and the Buck Creek drainage.

More evacuations were ordered Sunday morning for people near the 416 fire.

A type-1 incident management team took command of the fire Saturday morning, meaning additional resources will be deployed to contain it.

"This indicates that there is a high potential for extreme fire behavior, intensity and growth", the new release read.

Firefighters have kept the Colorado fire to the west of Highway 550 and away from structures, county commissioners in La Plata County, Colorado, said in a Saturday Facebook post. Officials said a structure protection is in place, with still no reports of any injuries.

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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. The fire in this area is behaving as predicted, according to fire authorities.

Another wildfire, the Burro fire, was burning about 13 miles west of the 416 fire through the San Juan National Forest in Montezuma County, causing campers in the area to be evacuated.

No structures have been lost.

With dry, windy weather in the forecast Sunday, firefighters said they expect the fire to continue to grow. Firefighters on the ground and in the air were still battling the blaze.

A release from the La Plata County government last week said: "Wind and weather conditions on Saturday helped to limit the physical growth of the fire, with 3-5 miles per hour winds and gusts up to 10 miles per hour".

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The fire is the largest of several burning in Colorado, including another fire that broke out nearby Friday.

Map of the 416 Fire at 9:15 p.m. MDT June 7, 2018.

Weather conditions will continue to be challenging.

There were no new burn-area updates early on Monday for the so-called 416 Fire in southwest Colorado but, according to the last update, it had burned almost 17,000 acres (6,880 hectares) by Sunday evening, an area larger than Manhattan.

But officials said winds should drop on Monday (June 11) leaving smoke heavy and low in the valley and visibility restricted. Smoke is expected to be heaviest in the U.S. Highway 550 corridor from Molas Pass through Durango and down to the New Mexico line, as well as the U.S. Highway 160 corridor between Hesperus and Bayfield, extending east past Pagosa Springs.

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The National Weather Service in Grand Junction has issued a dense smoke advisory for Southwest Colorado from 9 p.m. Sunday through noon Monday.

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