Durango-area residents pack bags, prepare for the worst as 416 Fire looms
June 09, 2018 10:27 PM
DURANGO, Colo. – In southwest Colorado, the smoke is consuming.
It lingers between branches and stretches from treetops to the sky. Near Durango, the 416 Fire is inching closer to homes – the flames fueling fear.
"It just progressed throughout the night and it was kind of scary for a bit," resident Amanda Martin said Saturday.
The blaze is nearly 3,700 acres in size and growing. Hundreds of homes have been evacuated, and more were ordered to do so on Saturday.
Martin's home sits just below the ominous clouds of smoke. Nestled along Highway 550, her family has been told to evacuate and prepare for the worst.
So, every morning and every evening like clockwork, Dennis Martin turns the pumps on and sprays his trees and home.
"With the wind coming this way every evening around 6:00 or so, everyone kind of gets on notice because the wind kind of shifts this way," Amanda Martin. "So if there is any kind of crazy flare-ups, embers can start something really quick."
So, like many people packing their lives away in the bed of a pickup or the back of an SUV, the Martins have collected what they can. Around 1,300 people have been asked to leave their homes, with another thousand on pre-evacuation notice.
"We asked the kids to put aside some of their favorite little toys and then we got all the baby pictures and wedding albums and important paperwork, passports and that kind of stuff," Martin said. "Anything that's not completely replaceable, at least to us."
Thousands of people find themselves in a similar situation – waiting, and hoping while the fire rages on.
700 personnel are now fighting the 416 Fire, utilizing helicopters and other air support to try and stall its advance.
"We do expect the fire to continue to grow," XXXXX said. "We are prioritizing the areas we want to protect."
As weather conditions and terrain work against those fire crews, officials say they're doing everything they can to protect the hundreds of homes and thousands of residents in the fire path.
Updated: June 09, 2018 10:27 PM
Created: June 09, 2018 09:52 PM
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