Thousands evacuated as raging wildfire devastates Colorado homes

Thousands evacuated as raging wildfire devastates Colorado homes

Areas in those neighborhoods below 20 Grand Road are on pre-evacuation notice.

More than 800 firefighters battled the blaze, which was 10 percent contained, unchanged from Sunday.

Forecasters at the National Interagency Fire Center say warmer and drier-than-normal conditions have put large portions of the Western states at above-average risk for significant wildfires between now and September, and this year's wildfire season could rival last year's, one of the most devastating on record.

The photographer said the couple had to move the spot of the wedding because of the fire and made a decision to use the fire for a backdrop.

The fire prompted officials to close San Juan National Forest.

The amount of fire personnel on scene has also doubled to 200 and additional resources continue to arrive. "We're not out of the woods by any means, but we've been very fortunate there have not been any homes burned or firefighters hurt".

Fire officials said Wednesday they believe the 416 Fire won't be contained until the end of July.

No structures have been lost since the fire broke out on June 1.

Across the state, Colorado's largest fire has burned about 43 square miles over almost two weeks.

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The cause of the blaze, which is being called the 416 Fire, which started June 1 in the San Juan National Forest, has not been determined.

Violating Stage 3 fire restrictions or going into a closed area carries a mandatory appearance in federal court, and is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment of up to six months, or both.

The blazes destroyed more than 12,300 homes and other structures.

National Forest Service officials told residents of 163 more homes near the fire in the southwestern Colorado to be ready to leave Thursday - as well as residents who had been allowed to return to 180 homes on Wednesday.

The Cibola National Forest announcement won't affect Albuquerque Open Space trails until those trails cross into the National Forest, said Philip Clelland, a spokesman for Albuquerque Parks and Recreation Department.

"As soon as they raise the level (to extreme), then we'll go ahead and implement closures", Clelland said.

On Tuesday, InciWeb, a federal database of U.S. fires, showed the wildfire was 92% contained, and said Cimarron Canyon State Park will be closed through July 4.

More burnouts are expected on the southwest perimeter of the fire near Junction Creek Road (County Road 204) in an effort to create a safe burn zone for the fire and eventually a containment line. There have been no reports of homes being damaged by the blaze.

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