Colorado wildfires displace thousands, prompt national forest closure

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Albany County officials issued evacuation orders for the communities of Mountain Home, Wold Tract, WyoColo, Foxpark, Gramm, Beehive, Miller Lake, and the areas along Highway 10 from Woods Landing south to the Colorado state line.

Much of the U.S. West is experiencing some level of drought and the Four Corners region - where Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado meet - is at the center of a large patch of exceptional drought.

Extreme fire danger in the southwest has prompted federal land managers to take the unusual step of indefinitely closing public access to an area of national forests larger than CT.

"Residents of over 2,000 homes have been ordered to evacuate because of a fire that started in the forest north of Durango, which doubled in size to about 25 square miles over the weekend".

Officials placed the Mesa Cortina and Wildernest neighborhoods under the mandatory evacuation Tuesday, KUSA-TV reported.

"We were just happy to get back".

More than 500 evacuation notices previously handed to residents and businesses in the area have been lifted as firefighters continue to tackle the blaze.

Despite the scale of the 416, there still has been no reports of any deaths or injuries and no homes have burned down.

416 Fire evacuations lifted in San Juan Co. Wednesday
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Investigators say a wildfire that scorched an area of Colorado known for its ski resorts, forcing the evacuation of more than 1,300 homes, was likely human-caused. This could accelerate the blaze, which has been burning for the last two weeks. It's only 15 percent contained, according to the National Forest Service.

Crews continued to work along the southwest side of the fire near County Road 205, where the fire is most active. Incident Commander Todd Pechota said he plans to bring in more crews to replace outgoing firefighters.

The closure will remain in effect "until the forest receives sufficient moisture to improve conditions", according to a statement.

Due to the extreme fire danger, the U.S. Forest Service closed the entire, almost 3,000-square-mile San Juan National Forest to the public on Tuesday.

Fire grows to 29,147 acresThe 416 Fire grew to 29,147 acres as of Thursday morning.

The U.S. Forest Service also is planning to bar recreation in a handful of ranger districts in the Cibola National Forest outside of Albuquerque beginning Friday.

Graham said earlier that 2,162 structures or homes have been evacuated since the beginning of the fire, and 500 residents are now on pre-evacuation.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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