DURANGO, CO (KRQE) - Air tankers are being called in as wildfires in southwestern Colorado continue to threaten homes.
Heavy aircraft, single-engine planes and helicopters were expected to be in operation by late morning depending on weather conditions.
On Wednesday winds were too strong for an aerial assault, and even ground crews had to be pulled back for their own safety from the Vallecito Fire near Vallecito Reservoir northeast of Durango.
The Vallecito Fire, possibly sparked by a lightning strike on Friday, grew to an estimated 200-250 acres and is about a mile from the west side of the reservoir where it continues to threaten the Lakeview Estates subdivision. Residents there have been told to be prepared for evacuations should the need arise.
West of Durango the Little East Fire near Mancos is estimated at 80-100 acres on private and public land in the areas of East Canyon and Cherry Creek. That fire was reported at about 4 p.m. Wednesday and spread rapidly on stiff winds.
Ground crews are actively working both the Vallecito and Little East fires, which did not grow much overnight as winds calmed. Milder winds are forecast today.
Other fires also are causing trouble and generating smoke plumes:
- Goblin Fire, above Animas Canyon in the West Needles area of the San Juan National Forest Weminuche Wilderness. Believed started by spark from Durango & Silverton Railroad steam locomotive. Started early in October and now active again at estimated 600 acres.
- Crazy Creek Fire, lightning-caused on Missionary Ridge in San Juan National Forest. Five-person hotshot crew on scene. Estimated at 3.5 acres. Containment expected Thursday afternoon.
- Unnamed wildfire estimated at 0.25-0.5 acres in South Hope Creek drainage 10 miles north of Hermosa. Currently being monitored by air.
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