Thousands of acres ablaze in Colorado, New Mexico

Massive wildfires in Colorado and New Mexico have torched thousands of acres and forced hundreds to evacuate their homes. A blaze known as the 416 Fire in Colorado’s La Plata County has burned 1,100 acres, US Forest Service spokesman Jim Mackensen told CNN on Saturday. The fire, about 15 miles outside the town of Durango, is 0% contained and has forced the evacuations of 1,500 residents, Mackensen said. No structures have been destroyed, he added. By Friday evening, the blaze had prompted La Plata County Manager Joanne Spina to declare a state of local disaster. Grass, brush and timber continued to fuel the fire on Saturday morning. The fire broke out on the west side of US 550, according to a Forest Service update posted on InciWeb, a government-operated multiagency fire response site. That highway is closed as firefighters work to prevent the fire from crossing it. About 825 homes were under mandatory evacuation orders Saturday, and another 760 were under a pre-evacuation notice. Residents were told to be ready to leave if necessary. Temperatures in the area were still high, Mackensen said, adding the forecast for Sunday shows a 50% chance of thunderstorms. It should help, he said, but “being that they are thunderstorms, they could cause another fire.” And a massive fire in Colfax County, New Mexico, had grown to 27,290 acres by Saturday morning and was 0% contained, according to InciWeb. Nearly 450 personnel were battling that fire. A mandatory evacuation order was in place for the town of Cimarron, where 296 structures were threatened by the blaze, called the Ute Park Fire, InciWeb said.

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