Three wildfires burned during the Memorial Day weekend in the Four Corners area, forcing evacuations in Colorado and New Mexico.
The Arena Canyon Fire west of Navajo Lake in San Juan County, New Mexico, caused 15 people to be evacuated and closed New Mexico Highway 511. By Sunday afternoon, the fire had burned 128 acres near the Colorado border on private and Bureau of Land Management lands and was 40 percent contained, according to Wendy Mason, communications coordinator for the New Mexico State Forestry Division. The fire was attributed to lightning. Evacuees have returned to their homes, and the road has reopened. The Cottonwood Day Use Area at Navajo Lake State Park will remain closed for use as the Type 3 Incident Command Post for the duration of the fire.Northeast of Durango, the 358 Fire started Friday and grew to 51 acres by Saturday. Evacuation orders for five homes along Road 501 were issued, and pre-evacuation notices were sent to homes on Florida Road, but the orders were lifted Sunday morning, because of progress fighting the fire. By Sunday evening, the fire was 95 percent contained. The 358 Fire was reported about 3:45 p.m. Friday on private property near the east entrance of Sunrise Lane and County Road 245, northeast of Durango. It was attributed to gunfire at a private gun range, but the shooter reportedly wasn’t using especially fire-prone ammunition.In San Miguel County southwest of Norwood, Colorado, the Horse Park Fire grew to 1,040 acres by Monday, according to the BLM. The fire was burning primarily on BLM lands in a very remote area. On Saturday, the fire had burned 100 acres, and its cause was not reported.A Federal Type 3 wildfire crew was assigned to the incident. A Type 2 crew will take over on Tuesday to further protect resources. No closures were in place on Monday, and smoke was visible. Residents were advised to avoid the area.
According to a statement by the San Miguel Sheriff’s Office, the House Park Fire was moving quickly and “in a remote area with limited potential to spread to a populated area. To that end, we encourage everyone to remain calm and stay out of the area.”
The Durango Herald contributed to this report.