Wildfire west of Durango grows to 1,200 acres; U.S. 160 east of Mancos closes

A major thoroughfare through southwest Colorado — U.S. 160 — was closed Monday afternoon between Mancos and Hesperus due to the East Canyon fire, which grew to approximately 1,200 acres overnight Sunday.

The fire, west of Durango, is burning on Bureau of Land Management and private lands in both Montezuma and La Plata counties, according to the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office. More specifically, the blaze is located on the east side of Weber Canyon and the west side of Cherry Creek, authorities said Monday.

Firefighters are attempting to keep the fire east of Road 46, south of U.S. 160 and west of County Road 105 and away from the Elk Springs and Elk Stream subdivisions. Officials issued a mandatory evacuation order for both subdivisions after the wildfire broke out on Menefee Mountain on Sunday afternoon.

Authorities were using two single-engine air tankers, one large air tanker, two helicopters and the San Juan Hotshot crew to fight the fire.

On Monday afternoon, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issued an air quality health advisory for a large swath of southwest Colorado, including La Plata and San Juan counties and eastern parts of Montezuma and Dolores counties. The area includes Durango, Silverton, Mancos, and Rico.

The advisory is in effect until 9 a.m. Tuesday.

Health officials say if the smoke becomes thick, people may want to remain indoors, especially for very young and very old people, and those with heart disease and respiratory illnesses. Several large wildfires in Arizona, along with the smaller 25-acre Loading Pen fire near Dolores, is also contributing to poor air quality in the area.

Fire danger remained high across the state Monday, with red flag warnings issued by the National Weather Service for multiple areas.

Click markers for details, use buttons to change what wildfires are shown. Map data is automatically updated by government agencies and could lag real-time events. Incident types are numbered 1-5 — a type 1 incident is a large, complex wildfire affecting people and critical infrastructure, a type 5 incident is a small wildfire with few personnel involved. Find more information about incident types at the bottom of this page.

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