416 Fire information and resources

Posted on 07/02/2018

The 416 Fire was measured at 54,129 acres Friday morning and is 45% percent contained. There are 383 firefighters assigned to the fire.

 

Due to the potential for rainfall to trigger flooding and debris flow in some areas in and adjacent to the 416 Fire over the coming days, a pre-evacuation order has been issued for 317 residences along County Roads 203 and 205.  

 

This includes Falls Creek Ranch and High Meadows subdivisions, Durango Regency, the Sanctuary, Hermosa Circle, and residences in the Tripp Creek area.

 

Weather forecasts indicate that storms between Friday and Tuesday could produce rainfall sufficient to trigger flooding and debris flow, and the National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Watch through 9 p.m. Friday.

 

These events could be intensified in areas in and around the 416 Fire burn area, where soils may be unable to absorb water at normal rates. These conditions can lead to more rapid runoff of water and materials during the storms forecast this week and those over the coming months and years.   

The fire was reported at 10:02 a.m. Friday, June 1 about 10 miles north of Durango on the west side of U.S. Highway 550.

The primary goal for the 416 Fire management is to safeguard lives and property in affected areas.
 

The La Plata County Board of County Commissioners enacted Stage 3 fire restrictions Tuesday, June 12. In addition to maintaining previous restrictions, Stage 3 will add the following additional closures/restrictions/ prohibitions:

 

  1. The closure of all La Plata County owned trails, encampments, open space, and unimproved lands.

  2. Those agricultural producers exempt from fire bans pursuant to C.R.S. §§ 30-15-401(n.5)(III) and 35-28-104(11) may perform agricultural burning only with 48 hours prior notification to the appropriate fire chief or the Sheriff.

  3. Indoor fire places and wood-burning stoves without an approved interior and exterior chimney spark arrestor.

  4. The sale, discharge or use of any kind of firework or other pyrotechnic device (including 4th of July celebrations).

  5. The use of floating sky lanterns, fire balloons or acetylene balloons.

  6. Discharge of firearms or the use of exploding targets, unless under the circumstances described in C.R.S. § 30-15-302.

  7. Blasting in development areas or construction areas.

  8. The use of an explosive, blasting caps, or any other incendiary device, including the use of any model rockets.

  9. Flaring for oil and gas production wells.

  10. Operation of coal-fired steam engines.

 

Certain exemptions apply to these prohibitions.  They include:

 

  1. Any federal, state or local officer or member of an organized rescue or firefighting force in the performance of an official duty.

  2. Flaring at centralized processing and compressing facilities is permitted so long as all conditions and requirements issued by applicable regulators are satisfied;

  3. Emergency repair of public utilities.

  4. Fires permitted by the Sheriff or local Fire Chiefs within their jurisdiction, if, in their professional opinions, such action is appropriate, safe and prudent. 

 

County Manager Joanne Spina proclaimed a state of local disaster in the unincorporated areas of La Plata County, pursuant to her authority as chief executive officer of La Plata County. Spina’s proclamation is due to the 416 Fire, ongoing exceptional drought conditions, and the potential for additional wildfires in the 2018 fire season.  The La Plata County Board of County Commissioners extended this proclamation of the state of local disaster for an additional 60 days on Tuesday, June 5.

 

The effect of this declaration is to activate the response and recovery aspects of any and all applicable local and inter-jurisdictional disaster emergency plans and to authorize the furnishing of aid and assistance under those plans.

 

This winter, snowfall in the Animas River basin was less than 40% of average, and this week, Southwest Colorado's snowpack is just 3% of historic average.  We have been experiencing above-average temperatures, hot dry winds with low humidity and very little rain this spring.  As of May 29, the weather station at the Durango-La Plata County Airport had recorded 1.41 inches of precipitation in 2018, nearly 4 inches below the historic average for that time period. 

 

In April, these factors prompted La Plata County to be classified in “exceptional drought” conditions – the most intense of five drought levels.  These drought conditions have persisted and the fuels (grass, brush and trees) in La Plata County are extremely dry and can produce explosive fire growth and behavior. 

 

Please sign up to receive emergency notifications, including evacuation and pre-evacuation notices, on your cell phone or via email: bit.ly/CodeRed_signup.

 

Please follow @416fire and @LaPlataCounty on Facebook or @LaPlataCountyCO on Twitter for continual updates.