Jun 15, 2018 - Energy & Environment

Colorado's 416 fire grows to 33,000 acres, just 18% contained

Smoke billows from the 416 fire along a closed road in Colorado.

Colorado state patrol officers help maintain road closures on County Road 205 on June 12, 2018 in Durango, Colorado. Credit: Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images

A wildfire burning in southwest Colorado's San Juan National Forest has grown to about 33,000 acres, as more than 1,100 firefighters battle the blaze. The fire, which began on June 1, has forced officials to close the forest for the first time in its 113-year history, the Denver Post reported.

Why it matters: The fire is one of dozens of blazes burning across the West, from Colorado to California. Portions of the Southwest are mired in an "exceptional drought," which is the worst possible category on the U.S. Drought Monitor.

What's new: Desperately needed moisture from the remnants of Hurricane Bud is streaming into the region, and showers and thunderstorms are predicted for the weekend, but drought conditions are projected to continue through the summer.

  • Parts of the state received below average snowfall this winter, and that snow pack had melted away by early spring, allowing vegetation to dry out.

Yes, but: While any rains will be welcome for evacuated residents and firefighters, thunderstorms could spark new blazes. Colorado officials have warned residents to expect one of the most severe wildfire seasons on record, possibly rivaling that of 2012, when parts of Colorado Springs burned in a fast-moving blaze.

Go deeper: Read the Denver Post's coverage of the 416 fire.

Go deeper