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Lightning sparks 18 fires on Southern Ute Indian Reservation

Crews were fighting the fires that started Friday south of Durango amid hot and windy conditions.

DURANGO, Colo. — Eighteen fires broke out on Friday on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation, south of Durango, according to authorities.

Lightning sparked the North Cinder Butte Area Fires throughout the west side of the reservation, prompting a response from multiple agencies, according to the Durango Interagency Coordinating Group (DICG).

The tribe was coordinating with local agencies on public safety and to minimize the impact of the fires. It was also working with oil-and-gas operators in the area to shut-in facilities in the vicinity of the fire, DICG said in a news release.

Conditions were forecast to be hot, dry and windy on Saturday, with wind gusts of up to 25 mph. Thunderstorms with lightning were expected on Saturday afternoon, DICG said.

> Video above: How do wildfires spread in neighborhoods?

Smoke from the fires was visible from the Colorado 140 corridor and in local communities. DICG asked people to avoid La Plata County Road 136 and the west end of County Road 100.

The responding agencies were the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Southern Ute Agency Fire Management and Los Pinos Fire Protection District. A Colorado state helicopter was also assisting.

Stage 1 Fire Restrictions were enacted for the Southern Ute Indian Reservation on Wednesday. The restrictions prohibit open burning, agriculture burning, campfires and fireworks.

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