On Tuesday, a fire dubbed the Buffalo Mountain Fire broke out two miles west of Silverthorne, Colorado, burning about 100 acres of the Arapahoe and Roosevelt National Forests. The Buffalo Mountain Fire is just one of eight wildfires burning across the state reports TGR.
The most serious of the fires, the 416 Fire, has burned more than 32,000 acres and prompted several residential evacuations. More than 1,000 people are working to tame the flames, but as incident commander Todd Pechota told CNN, whenever containment progress is made, the fire simply expands in another direction. Officials report that containment is not expected until the end of July and currently stands at 18%.
As of this morning, the Badger Creek Fire is burning at 11,021 acres. The Burro Fire is burning at 2,829 acres while the Horse Park Fire is burning at 1,221 acres. The Natty Fire has been contained and is burning at 79 acres and the Fourmile Fire is burning at 500 acres. The Bocco Fire is burning 415 acres. Officers are reporting that three men were seen leaving the area where the Bocco Fire first started, which has called into question whether or not the blaze was started by human error. Together, all eight fires are burning 45,165 acres.
As a result, officials have closed the 1.8 million acre San Juan National Forest to visitors.
“Under current conditions, one abandoned campfire or spark could cause a catastrophic wildfire, and we are not willing to take that chance with the natural and cultural resources under our protection and care, or with human life and property,” Richard Bustamante, SJNF forest fire staff officer, told CNN.
Any violation of this closure could result in thousands of dollars in fines and a potential six-month prison sentence.
This isn’t the first forest closure the West has seen in recent weeks: New Mexico’s Santa Fe National Forest has been closed, as well portions of the Tonto, Apache-Sitgreaves, Coconino, and Kaibab national forests in Arizona.