A major forest fire is currently burning in our town of Durango in Colorado. (For more info, Google “416 Fire”). We are safe and sound in NJ but the CO house is definitely under risk. This photo taken by a neighbor yesterday shows the fire on the cliffs behind our house, probably about a mile away at most. I think the fires that you see were deliberately set (a “back burn”) by firefighters. The idea is to create a burned-out area under more controlled conditions so that when the main fire reaches that point, there is no fuel left and the advance is stopped.
We have friends up near that ridge and they have been evacuated. Our neighborhood is on “pre-evacuation notice” which means that inhabitants need to be prepared to vacate on one hour’s notice. We have had friends into our house to pull out some items of value and the cars. At this point, whatever will be will be. I actually think it is pretty unlikely that the fire will reach us but you never know. There are over 800 “hot-shot” firefighters battling the blaze and about 150 of them are camped out just north of us out of the picture on the right. There is a veritable air force of airplanes and helicopters at work. It is a maximum effort and to date, although the fire has burned many square miles, not a single structure has been lost nor has anyone been hurt.
The valley is full of choking smoke. We will delay our return to CO until the situation settles down. It will likely take quite a long while as the forecast is for continued dry and windy conditions. Normally the rainy season begins in July so that should tamp things down assuming it doesn’t reach us in the interim.