Residents near Durango remain on edge as Lightner Creek fire burns

DURANGO - Aided by cooler temperatures Friday, fire crews made progress battling the Lightner Creek Fire burning west of Durango. By Friday night, the fire had consumed 397 acres and was 29 percent contained.

“So far things seem to be holding fairly well,” said Chris Barth, spokesman for the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team.

While fire crews fought the fire from the ground and air Friday, residents gathered at Escalante Middle School for a community meeting. Fire officials and local leaders spoke at the meeting and answered questions from concerned residents.

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“It’s good to hear it from the sheriff and the firefighters,” Ashleigh Diaz said.

Diaz brought along her one-and-a-half-year-old son, Tucker to the meeting in the cafeteria of the middle school. Diaz lives in the Rafter J neighborhood west of Durango and south of Highway 160. Her home was included on a pre-evacuation order.

“We’ve packed up our toys and our documents,” Diaz said.

Diaz is ready to leave her home if necessary. Others have already left. Evacuation orders since Wednesday impacted 140 homes in La Plata County. Some evacuation orders were lifted Friday, though firefighters could not definitively say when all evacuees would be able to return home.

“If it gets windy or things shift, who knows what could happen,” Diaz said.

The Lightner Creek Fire started June 28 in a structure and quickly spread to nearby vegetation.

“There was a lot of aviation being used yesterday and early on,” Chris Barth said.

Air tankers and helicopters have been in the air helping the firefighters on the ground who are working to build containment lines in rugged terrain.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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