A fast-moving fire burning north of Durango has burned an estimated 1100 acres and forced the closure of U.S. Highway 550 and forced the evacuation of 825 homes.
Another 750 homes are on pre-evacuation notice in the Purgatory and Durango Mountain Resort, Cascade Village, Celadon, Red Tail Mountain Ranch, and Elkhorn Mountain subdivisions.
U.S. Highway 550 will remain closed overnight Friday into Saturday morning north of Durango. La Plata County officials said it has not crossed over to the east side of the highway.
County Manager Joanne Spina proclaimed a state of local disaster in unincorporated areas of La Plata County due to exceptional drought conditions and wildfire danger.
— La Plata County, CO (@LaPlataCountyCO) June 2, 2018
Mandatory evacuations are in effect from Baker’s Bridge at County Road 250 north to Electra Lake Road.
Evacuations are now in effect from the Glacier Club/Tamarron subdivision south to Baker’s Bridge on the east side of U.S. Highway 550, west of the Animas River.
An evacuation center is open at Escalante Middle School at 141 Baker Lane in Durango. A second evacuation center will open at the Silverton School, located at 1160 Snowden St., in Silverton.
Emergency officials said the fire started Friday morning about 10 miles north of Durango. The Durango Herald reports that several witnesses say the fire started near the train tracks of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Guage Railroad, but no official cause has been released.
Those who were on the train had to be taken off the train and bused back to Durango.
The Railroad has canceled Saturday rides as a result of the severe fire danger.
(The Associated Press contributed to this story)