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Crews continue to battle Lightner Creek fire near Durango

J.R. Oppenheim
June 29, 2017 08:22 AM

DURANGO, Colo. -- Crews  are continuing to battle a 100-acre fire Thursday that started west of Durango on Wednesday afternoon and led to the evacuation of 140 residents, according to Durango Fire and Rescue.

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The Durango Fire Protection District issued a pre- evacuation notice overnight  for the Rock Ridge Subdivision due to the potential for unfavorable weather conditions Thursday.

KOB's Devin Neeley is on scene and reports that aerial support for the fire was grounded for a period Wednesday night due to a drone in the area but will resume Thursday.

The houses in the Lightner Creek area are threatened, prompting fire crews to call for residents to evacuate. According to the Durango Herald, the wildfire reportedly started as a structure fire and quickly spread.

At around 9:40 p.m. Wednesday night, fire officials said they expect the fire's behavior to calm down overnight when winds decrease and humidity goes up. However, it could flare up again Thursday.

Evacuations were called for the area north of the County Road 207-CR 208 intersection with pre-evacuation notices for residences south of the intersection to U.S. 160. Roughly 30 homes at a mobile home park have already been evacuated.

The La Plata County Fairgrounds will serve as an American Red Cross evacuation center for residents and their pets. Evacuated areas include:

  • All residents on County Road 207 north of the intersection of County Road 207/208
  • All residents on County Road 206, with the exception of the Westwood Apartments, at the intersection of County Road 206 and Highway 160.
  • Twin Buttes Subdivision
  • Animas High School
  • Hogs Back Trail System

Durango Fire and Rescue also said all recreation trails in the "Test Track" area have shut down, including Hogsback, Leydon and Hidden Valley. Lightner Creek Road will reopen around 7 a.m. Thursday.

Pre-evacuations were called for:

  • County Road 208
  • Highway 160, one mile west of County Road 207
  • Dakota and Westwood Apartments on County Road 206

One house has already been destroyed, Durango Fire Protection District Public Information Officer Scot Davis confirmed to KOB. Davis said three heavy air tankers were ordered from Denver, along with a Type III incident team.

According to the San Juan Basin Health Department, visibility due to smoke is less than five mile and air quality is now at unhealthy levels. People with heart disease or respiratory problems, children and the elderly will be particularly affected and should avoid exposure or exertion.

The health department provided these tips:

  • "Close windows and doors and stay inside. However, do not close up your home tightly if it makes it dangerously warm inside."
  • "Only if they are filtered, run the air conditioning, your evaporative cooler, or the fan feature on your home heating system (with the heat turned off). Keep the outdoor air intake closed and be sure the filter is clean. Filtered air typically has less smoke than the air outdoors. Running these appliances if they are not filtered can make indoor smoke worse."
  • "As temperatures cool in the evening inversion conditions worsen and smoke in low lying areas may become thicker, especially if the outdoor air is still. It tends to be worst near dawn."
  • "Close bedroom windows at night."

"To prepare for nighttime smoke, consider airing out your home during the early or middle of the afternoon when smoke tends to be more diluted. Use your best judgment. If smoke is thick during the day, follow the tips above."

Stay with KOB.com as this story develops. Click here for more from the Durango Herald. You can also call the community hotline at (970) 385-8700. Residents may register for emergency alerts on their smartphones. Click here to sign up

If it's safe to do so, click here to share any photos from the area with KOB: http://www.kob.com/share/

For mobile users, click here for a Google Map of the area.

Credits

J.R. Oppenheim

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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