Lessons of the 416 Fire show how our approach to wildfires has evolved

Southwest Life

Lessons of the 416 Fire show how our approach to wildfires has evolved

Grateful local residents, some of whom had been forced to evacuate their homes and neighborhoods, displayed thank-you signs for firefighters who fought the 416 Fire north of Durango. Signs were produced by advertising companies, and others were homemade. Residents learned a new kind of humility. In the summer of 2015, we worried about water pollution and the Animas River gone neon orange from the Gold King Mine spill. Three years later in the summer of 2018, we learned an important lesson about air pollution and the clean Durango air that we take for granted.
At its peak, fighting the 416 Fire took 1,100 firefighters. Thank you signs were produced by grateful residents and local advertising companies. The fire burned more than 54,000 acres north of Durango.
Courtesy of Andrew Gulliford

Grateful local residents, some of whom had been forced to evacuate their homes and neighborhoods, displayed thank-you signs for firefighters who fought the 416 Fire north of Durango. Signs were produced by advertising companies, and others were homemade.
Time-lapse photography shows a pyrocumulus cloud rise to over 10,000 feet above the 416 Fire. Most La Plata County residents found the 416 Fire both awful and beautiful. The 54,000-acre wildfire made national news and resulted in conflicting emotions of fear and wonder for people who saw it. Economic impacts on summer tourism may result in a 35 percent loss for the local economy.
A large thank-you sign from Fort Lewis College could clearly be seen from the air as helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft took off from the Durango-La Plata County Airport to fly north over the college toward the expanding 416 Fire.
A helicopter carries its bucket filled with water to the 416 Fire on June 2.
Travis Lipp, Blue Team Operations Section Chief, describes the firefighting effort June 5 during a community meeting held at Animas Elementary School. Dozens of people were turned away as the room was at capacity.
In July, rock and debris buried vehicles at Mel Smith’s home between The Pines Townhomes and Animas Village Apartments north of Hermosa.
The 416 Fire burns down Hermosa Cliffs on June 6 above U.S. Highway 550.
A helicopter takes part in burnout operations June 11 south of County Road 202.

Lessons of the 416 Fire show how our approach to wildfires has evolved

Grateful local residents, some of whom had been forced to evacuate their homes and neighborhoods, displayed thank-you signs for firefighters who fought the 416 Fire north of Durango. Signs were produced by advertising companies, and others were homemade. Residents learned a new kind of humility. In the summer of 2015, we worried about water pollution and the Animas River gone neon orange from the Gold King Mine spill. Three years later in the summer of 2018, we learned an important lesson about air pollution and the clean Durango air that we take for granted.
At its peak, fighting the 416 Fire took 1,100 firefighters. Thank you signs were produced by grateful residents and local advertising companies. The fire burned more than 54,000 acres north of Durango.
Courtesy of Andrew Gulliford

Grateful local residents, some of whom had been forced to evacuate their homes and neighborhoods, displayed thank-you signs for firefighters who fought the 416 Fire north of Durango. Signs were produced by advertising companies, and others were homemade.
Time-lapse photography shows a pyrocumulus cloud rise to over 10,000 feet above the 416 Fire. Most La Plata County residents found the 416 Fire both awful and beautiful. The 54,000-acre wildfire made national news and resulted in conflicting emotions of fear and wonder for people who saw it. Economic impacts on summer tourism may result in a 35 percent loss for the local economy.
A large thank-you sign from Fort Lewis College could clearly be seen from the air as helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft took off from the Durango-La Plata County Airport to fly north over the college toward the expanding 416 Fire.
A helicopter carries its bucket filled with water to the 416 Fire on June 2.
Travis Lipp, Blue Team Operations Section Chief, describes the firefighting effort June 5 during a community meeting held at Animas Elementary School. Dozens of people were turned away as the room was at capacity.
In July, rock and debris buried vehicles at Mel Smith’s home between The Pines Townhomes and Animas Village Apartments north of Hermosa.
The 416 Fire burns down Hermosa Cliffs on June 6 above U.S. Highway 550.
A helicopter takes part in burnout operations June 11 south of County Road 202.

Lessons of the 416 Fire show how our approach to wildfires has evolved

Seen from the northeast edge of Durango West II, the 416 Fire was close and visible to most Durango residents who regularly walked or drove to viewpoints so they could see the spectacular late-afternoon and evening smoke plumes.

Lessons of the 416 Fire show how our approach to wildfires has evolved

Fire crews came from all over the West to help control the 416 Fire. This engine crew photographed near Honeyville included, from left, Teller Knutson, Trent Jones and Rocky McWilliams from Fremont County, Wyo.; and Todd Hebebrand, Tony Marzo and Kevin Chandler from Summit County. One of the Wyoming firefighters said, “You’ve got great country here, it’s just steep.”

Lessons of the 416 Fire show how our approach to wildfires has evolved

Time-lapse photography shows a pyrocumulus cloud rise to over 10,000 feet above the 416 Fire. Most La Plata County residents found the 416 Fire both awful and beautiful. The 54,000-acre wildfire made national news and resulted in conflicting emotions of fear and wonder for people who saw it. Economic impacts on summer tourism may result in a 35 percent loss for the local economy.
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