Rangers close large chunks of public forest in West as wildfires

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Meanwhile, additional firefighters were headed to Wyoming to work on a wildfire that has exploded in size and prompted evacuations near the Colorado border.

Multiple wildfires are already burning in the area, including the 23,000-acre 416 Fire near Durango, Colorado, and the 41,000-acre Buzzard Fire in west-central New Mexico.

A public information officer spoke with KDVR's Emily Allen and would not specify the exact cause of the blaze but instead listed off a number of possibilities, including the idea that a piece of glass thrown on the ground may have magnified and started the fire.

The fire has burned roughly 90 acres and is sending out embers that are setting spot fires within surrounding neighborhoods.

In order to enter these areas, residents must show their RapidTag credentials, which are available at Trimble Crossing at the intersection of U.S. Highway 550 and Trimble Lane, Escalante Middle School, 141 Baker Lane in Durango, and at the highway's northern closure point at mile marker 49.5.

That fire began June 1 and since then, more than 2,100 home have evacuated. Those living below 20 Grand Road were placed on a pre-evacuation notice. MOre than 900 firefighters were trying to control the blaze, according the AP. They have requested hand crews and a "big air attack", saying they hope to keep the fire from jumping the well-established fire break around Mesa Cortina and Wildernest.

The Tank Fire has burned through 125 acres in a matter of hours according to the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management
The Tank Fire has burned through 125 acres in a matter of hours according to the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management

The Summit County Sheriff lifted the mandatory evacuation order Thursday afternoon for people in about 1,300 homes near Silverthorne.

In an extreme move due to continuing fire danger, the U.S. Forest Service plans to close the entire San Juan National Forest to most public entry starting on Tuesday.

In southern Wyoming, firefighters battled a 17-square-mile (44 square kilometer) fire in the Medicine Bow National Forest that forced the evacuation of almost 400 homes in 10 small communities.

UPDATE (2 p.m.): According to the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and Thunder Basin National Grassland Twitter, the communities of Beehive, Gramm, & Miller Lake communities are being evacuated by Albany County officials. On top of that, human-caused fires usually affect regions close to population centers. It remained 15 percent contained.

The fire destroyed 14 unoccupied structures at the Boy Scouts' Philmont Ranch overnight as it burned near Highway 64 in Ute Park.

"Weather is going to continue to play a role over the next few days, continuing to influence some of our decisions and the fire behavior", Jamie Knight, a 416 fire spokeswoman, told the Denver Post.

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