Fires steady in SLV; ablaze in NM, Durango

VALLEY — While wildfires in the San Luis Valley are nearing containment, firefights in northern New Mexico and the Durango area are still far from over.

According to Rio Grande National Forest Public Affairs Specialist Mike Blakeman on Monday, the lightning-ignited Park Creek Fire southwest of South Fork was still considered 95 percent contained, with no visible smoke for the second day in a row (but the area will be patrolled daily), and the Continental Reservoir Fire was 50 percent contained. The Continental Reservoir Fire is burning at tree line about two miles north of Continental Reservoir on the Rio Grande National Forest.

Blakeman stated that the Type 1 helicopter assisted Sunday and Monday on that fire, and there was still some heat in the interior of that fire. He added that the biggest concern was firefighter safety due to the dead trees.

The Continental Reservoir remains closed.

Meanwhile, the 416 Fire north of Durango had consumed more than 2,400 acres by Monday evening, was only 10 percent contained and had more than 400 personnel on scene. More than 800 residences remain under mandatory evacuation orders.

The Ute Park Fire in northern New Mexico had grown to more than 36,000 acres by Monday evening and was 23 percent contained. Mandatory evacuation orders remain in effect for the Cimarron and Ute Park areas, affecting about 550 and 220 structures, respectively. Although no residences have burned in the Ute Park Fire, 14 outbuildings burned on the Philmont Ranch.