Wind-whipped fire temporarily closes Highway 550 near Bondad

STEVE LEWIS/Durango Herald - DURANGO - 06/23/12 - U.S. Highway 550 was shut down for about three hours from the state line four miles north to Bondad while firefighters battled the State Line Fire. Enlarge photo

STEVE LEWIS/Durango Herald - DURANGO - 06/23/12 - U.S. Highway 550 was shut down for about three hours from the state line four miles north to Bondad while firefighters battled the State Line Fire.

A second wildfire in the area Saturday burned about 80 acres of land and closed a four-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 550 between Bondad and the Colorado-New Mexico line for more than three hours.

Several residents were notified they may need to evacuate, but no evacuations had been ordered as of 7 p.m. Firefighters said heavy smoke obstructed visibility across U.S. 550, making it unsafe for drivers. They also needed the highway to stage vehicles, said Dave Imming, spokesman for the Durango Fire & Rescue Authority.

The highway was reopened about 7:30 Saturday evening.

The blaze, dubbed the State Line Fire, was reported at 3:36 p.m. Saturday along the west side of the highway, about two miles north of the state line. Firefighters were unsure if any structures had been lost. Helicopters and air tankers were working the blaze Saturday evening.

The fire threatened several homes and gas well pads near the southern end of La Posta Road (County Road 213), Imming said.

Residents living along the highway and near the southern end of La Posta Road were told they may need to evacuate. Firefighters also were concerned erratic winds could ignite spot fires on the east side of the highway, Imming said.

But late Saturday evening, winds were pushing the fire predominantly in a westerly direction.

“It’s at the whim of the wind right now,” he said.

shane@durangoherald.com

STEVE LEWIS/Durango Herald - DURANGO - 06/23/12 - Taylor Schaaf waits near the site where a small building was destroyed by the State Line Fire on Saturday on U.S. Highway 550 about two miles north of the New Mexico border. Schaaf said she came with a friend who was helping another friend find her dogs. Enlarge photo

STEVE LEWIS/Durango Herald - DURANGO - 06/23/12 - Taylor Schaaf waits near the site where a small building was destroyed by the State Line Fire on Saturday on U.S. Highway 550 about two miles north of the New Mexico border. Schaaf said she came with a friend who was helping another friend find her dogs.

STEVE LEWIS/Durango Herald - DURANGO - 06/23/12 - "Oh, this is not good," said Ken Queen, right, as the wind picked up on Bondad Hill on Saturday evening. Queen, a volunteer for La Plata County Search & Rescue, was relaying information about the State Line Fire to La Plata Countyís Office of Emergency Management who, he said, would make the decision to evacuate the area, if needed. Enlarge photo

STEVE LEWIS/Durango Herald - DURANGO - 06/23/12 - "Oh, this is not good," said Ken Queen, right, as the wind picked up on Bondad Hill on Saturday evening. Queen, a volunteer for La Plata County Search & Rescue, was relaying information about the State Line Fire to La Plata Countyís Office of Emergency Management who, he said, would make the decision to evacuate the area, if needed.

STEVE LEWIS/Durango Herald - DURANGO - 06/23/12 - Richard Gustafson, left, incident commander for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and Dan Noonan, chief of the Durango Fire & Rescue Authority, talk to firefighters and concerned citizens about the State Line Fire on Saturday evening on U.S. Highway 550 just south of Bondad Hill. Enlarge photo

STEVE LEWIS/Durango Herald - DURANGO - 06/23/12 - Richard Gustafson, left, incident commander for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and Dan Noonan, chief of the Durango Fire & Rescue Authority, talk to firefighters and concerned citizens about the State Line Fire on Saturday evening on U.S. Highway 550 just south of Bondad Hill.

STEVE LEWIS/Durango Herald - DURANGO - 06/23/12 - Firefighters work on a site only feet from U.S. Highway 550 where a small building was destroyed by the State Line Fire on Saturday about two miles north of the New Mexico border. Dave Imming of the Durango Fire & Rescue Authority said DFRA received a call about the fire around 3:30, and by Saturday evening it had consumed 337 acres. Enlarge photo

STEVE LEWIS/Durango Herald - DURANGO - 06/23/12 - Firefighters work on a site only feet from U.S. Highway 550 where a small building was destroyed by the State Line Fire on Saturday about two miles north of the New Mexico border. Dave Imming of the Durango Fire & Rescue Authority said DFRA received a call about the fire around 3:30, and by Saturday evening it had consumed 337 acres.

Comments » Read and share your thoughts on this story