Fire expected to hit homes on Friday

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According to La Plata County, 220 homes in the Falls Creek/West CR 203 area are being evacuated.

- The 416 Fire in southwestern Colorado grew to 22,131 acres, officials said Monday morning. So far firefighters have been able to keep it west of Highway 550, and until Friday it was east of Hermosa Creek. More information about evacuations is available at the La Plata County Government Facebook page.

Large smoke columns visible Sunday from Durango came as fire behavior intensified near the Lower Hermosa Campground and burned conifer stands. Crews underwent a successful burnout operation on the southwest side of the fire overnight that lasted until midnight, Eaby said.

"Structure protection is in place for the entire fire area", read a news release from the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team.

The large wildfire has prompted the evacuation of an additional 859 homes in the Purgatory/Durango Mountain Resort, Lake Purgatory, Silver Pick Lodge, Cascade Village, and Mill Creek areas. No structures had been lost as of Friday morning.

Along with the fixed wing aircraft, four Type I helicopters, two Type II helicopters and two Type III helicopters will fight the fire from the air.

A release from the La Plata County government last week said: "Wind and weather conditions on Saturday helped to limit the physical growth of the fire, with 3-5 miles per hour winds and gusts up to 10 miles per hour".

"It is better to give people a window for evacuations instead of, 'You need to leave right now because the fire is in your backyard, '" Russo said.

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The fire is burning on the west side of U.S. Highway 550 on some private land and on the San Juan National Forest. Crews will continue to monitor and battle the blaze near County Road 201 to make sure the fire doesn't get out of hand in the area.

Map of the 416 Fire at 9:15 p.m. MDT June 7, 2018.

Critical weather conditions are expected during the weekend.

Elsewhere, the National Weather Service issued a dense smoke weather warning for Highway 550 corridor from Molas Pass through Durango and down to the New Mexico state line, as well as the Highway 160 corridor between Hesperus and Bayfield, extending east past Pagosa Springs.

A wildfire burning in southwestern Colorado is forcing more people from their homes.

Health officials have issued an air quality alert in southwestern Colorado because of heavy smoke from a wildfire.

Firefighters will continue to patrol along US 550 to mop up hot spots and keep the flames west of the highway and away from structures.