12:25 p.m. Evacuated residents and businesses in the Hermosa area can return to their homes and businesses. This includes county roads 201, 202 and County Road 203 north from Cometti/Mead Lane south to Trimble Lane. Residents could return as of noon Sunday.
Additionally, the pre-evacuation orders for this area and all areas from the west side of County Road 203 east to the Animas River and north through San Juan County have been lifted.
The only area now under evacuation orders is the Falls Creek area. Pre-evacuation notices remain in effect for residences and businesses on the west side of County Road 203 from Trimble Lane south to the U.S. Highway 550 intersection, the 1000 block of County Road 204 to the Colorado Trail access and County Road 205 north from the intersection of County and 204 to the Falls Creek Ranch subdivision entrance.
The 416 Fire started June 1. As of Sunday, it had burned 34,161 acres and was 25 percent contained. Fire officials say the weekend rain has helped slow the fire’s growth.
11 a.m. There is a misconception that recent rain put the 416 Fire out completely, Type 1 Incident Management Team spokesman Scot Davis told The Durango Herald.
Rain did cool down the fire and kept it from spreading, he said, however the region will not see more rain for over a week.
There are still dry fuels and hot embers, Davis said.
The San Juan National Forest and city of Durango open spaces remain closed indefinitely because of high fire danger.
While no flooding or debris flows were reported Sunday morning from the weekend rain, they will be a concern for years to come, Davis said at a community meeting at Durango Joes in Town Plaza this morning.
The burn scar has removed vegetation that normally keeps hillsides in place, which increases the possibility of flooding.
“It’s going to come down at some point,” Davis said.
Residents near the burn area, or downstream from it, should be aware of where water normally flows on their property, he said. Digging troughs and building walls with sandbags can help reinforce areas where water flows.
The meeting at Durango Joes was one of four being held Sunday.
The others are:
TrueValue, 45 Trimble Crossing Drive, at 11:30 a.m.Evacuation Center at Escalante Middle School, 141 Baker Lane, at noon.Silverton Post Office at 2 p.m.This weekend’s storm brought just over an inch of rain to Durango and the surrounding areas, said Tom Renwick of the National Weather Service in Grand Junction.
On Sunday, nine interagency hot-shot crews will either hike or be flown in by helicopter to work on containment lines as well as remove brush and trees.
The crews will be working near the Falls Creek Ranch subdivision, Falls Creek Ridge and a remote area on the fire’s western flank.
The coming week will be sunny and dry, Renwick said. As of Sunday, there was minimal chance of red-flag warnings during the week.
Davis underscored the importance of the Type 1 management team’s work. If it wasn’t here, the fire would grow much larger and property would have been destroyed, he said.
“Falls Creek would have been gone,” he said.
9:17 a.m.The 416 Fire is reported Sunday morning to be 34,161 acres and 25 percent contained. Fire officials say the rain has helped slow the fire’s growth.
Rainfall will continue today. A flash-flood warning from the National Weather Service had been issued until 9 a.m. today because of steady overnight rain and thunderstorms, but no flooding was reported.
The storm, a result of the remnants of Hurricane Bud, provided a perfect amount of rain, said Butch Knowlton, director of La Plata County Emergency Management.
The rain aided firefighters in increasing containment to 25 percent, while not inundating the burn zone with flood waters.
Over the weekend, firefighters are focused on strengthening containment lines, said fire spokeswoman Jamie Knight on Sunday morning.
The most active portion of the fire remains on the west side, she said.
Fire activity is expected to flare up again with warmer temperatures this week.
Flash Flood Warning including Durango CO until 9:00 AM MDT pic.twitter.com/NvAXXMlP6k— NWS Grand Junction (@NWSGJT) June 17, 2018
According to fire officials, scattered showers will fall over the burn area until this afternoon. Skies will be cloudy with some patches of fog. The chance of wetting rain is 50 percent.
Businesses and residents in the areas of Haviland Lake, Electra Lake and Lakewood Meadows subdivisions were able to start returning home this morning. U.S. Highway 550 opened at 8 a.m. without law enforcement escort.
San Juan National Forest officials have said that even with the rain the area has received in the last 24 hours, the moisture is not enough to lift Stage 3 fire restrictions. All 1.8 million acres of the forest are closed.
The forest as a whole is still experiencing an exceptional drought and will not likely change stage 3 restrictions anytime soon. Multiple storms, with substantial precipitation over a duration of time, are needed to alleviate the drought conditions.— SanJuanNF (@SanJuanNF) June 17, 2018
Fire officials said this morning that in some areas, the fire received more than a quarter-inch of rain within an hour this morning.
Fire officials also expect limited fire behavior today and expect little to no growth. The chance of new fires igniting is minimal.
Moisture from rain that started Saturday morning will allow firefighters to attack the fire’s edge on Falls Creek Ridge.
Operations will also target the Falls Creek Subdivision west along the fire’s edge, wrapping around to the southwest, north of Tripp Gulch.
Burnouts will also take place if conditions are favorable. Other work will include building a fire line away from the fire’s edge to run northeast from the southwest edge of the fire and to tie into the north end of Junction Creek Road.
Structure protection crews will remain active in the Hermosa and Falls Creek Subdivision areas, and crews in the area east of Highway 550 will monitor the edge of the fire.
Public information officers will be at four places today to talk to residents who want more information. They will be at:
Durango Joes, 40 Town Plaza, at 9:30 a.m.TrueValue, 45 Trimble Crossing Drive, at 11:30 a.m.Evacuation Center at Escalante Middle School, 141 Baker Lane, at noon.Silverton Post Office at 2 p.m.The Burro Fire was at 3,715 acres as of Sunday morning, a growth of about 300 acres from Friday. It was moving northeast and southeast in mountainous, heavily timbered country at 9,000 to 11,000 feet in elevation. Containment was at 12 percent.
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This is a developing story. Check back for updates at durangoherald.com.