39 days of destruction

39 days of destruction

Perfect storm of conditions preceded Missionary Ridge Fire
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Flames march along Missionary Ridge toward Durango on June 24, 2002. It is the first day of more than a month of fire in La Plata County.
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The Missionay Ridge Fire burns behind the Dalton Ranch subdivision in the Animas Valley.
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An air tanker makes what will be one of many slurry drops on the east side of the Animas Valley.
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The flames and heat of the Missionary Ridge Fire were at times so intense that only tree trunks and sturdy steel remained after the fire moved through.
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The Missionary Ridge Fire spawned a firestorm on June 17, 2002, that ripped west to east across Vallecito Reservoir, leaving a path of destruction. Authorities had advised people to move property to the dry lake bed declaring it a “safe area.”
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The stress of the Missionary Ridge Fire took its toll on La Plata County residents, including Jim Downs and Kathy Tucker, who were waiting at the Red Cross shelter at Bayfield High School on June 18, during the daily updates to hear if their Vallecito home had burned. To their relief, it did not.
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Jeff Harris, with the Durango Fire & Rescue Authority, extinguishes a downed tree near the fire line on the west side of the fire on June 9, 2002, just hours after the fire started.
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The smoke was so heavy at times that some firefighters like T.W. Witt, with Upper Pine Fire Protection District, used bandannas to help filter particles from the air.
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JERRY McBRIDE/Durango Herald file photo
A smoke plume rises above the Falls Creek subdivision during the Valley Fire on June 25. La Plata County residents could not look up into the sky in the afternoons without seeing a smoke plume from the fires.
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JERRY McBRIDE/Durango Herald file
The smoke was so heavy in the valleys at times some firefighters like T.W Witt, with Upper Pine Fire Protection District, used bandanna's to hlep filter out the particals from the air.
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JERRY McBRIDE/Durango Herald file
The flames and heat of the Missionary Ridge Fire were at times so intense that only tree trunks and sturdy steel remained after the fire moved through.
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Durango Herald file
The Missionay Ridge Fire burns behind the Dalton Ranch subdivision in the Animas Valley.
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JERRY McBRIDE/Durango Herald file
A smoke plum rises above the Falls Creek subdivision during the Valley Fire on June 25. La Plata County residents could not look up into the sky in the afternoons without seeing a smoke plume from the fires.
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JERRY McBRIDE/Durango Herald file
The Missionary Ridge Fire spawned a firestorm on Jun 17 that ripped west to east across Vallecito Reservoir, leaving a path of destruction. Authorities had advised people to move property to the dry lake bed declaring it a "safe area."
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JERRY McBRIDE/Durango Herald file
An air tanker makes a slurry drop on the east side of the Animas Valley north of Durango.
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Durango Herald file
The stress of the Missionary Ridge Fire tooks its toll on La Plata County residents as it did on Jim Downs and Kathy Tucker who were waiting at the Red Cross shelter at Bayfield High School on June 18, during the daily updates to hear if their Vallecito home had burned. To their relief it did not.
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JERRY McBRIDE/Durango Herald
Bayfield - 05/24/12 - Flames march along Missionary Ridge toward Durango on June 24th.
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Jeff Harris, with the Durango Fire & Rescue Authority, extinguishes a downed tree near the fire line on the west side of the fire on June 9, 2002, just hours after the fire started.
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