Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper discusses the state's 2018 wildfire outlook in on April 13, 2018. Credit: Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Large wildfires in New Mexico and Colorado have forced hundreds to evacuate, and burned at least a dozen structures since Friday. The blazes are taking place amid tinder dry and windy conditions, and signal what officials fear will be a historically damaging fire seasons.

The big picture: One of the rapidly spreading fires, known as the 416 fire, is burning near Durango, in southwestern Colorado. It has forced the evacuation of nearly 800 homes since it was first seen on Friday morning. The fire has been burning through parts of the San Juan National Forest, and as of Saturday morning, the fire was 0 percent contained and had spread to 1,100 acres, according to Inciweb, a government portal for wildfire disaster information.

In neighboring New Mexico, the Ute Park fire is burning about 100 miles northeast of Santa Fe. The fire has burned more than 27,000 acres, and destroyed more than a dozen unoccupied structures. About 300 structures are threatened in the community of Cimarron, according to Inciweb,

Why you’ll hear about this again: Officials in several western states are bracing for what could be the worst wildfire season in years, as "exceptional drought conditions" — the most severe category — grip parts of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas and Oklahoma. In Colorado, officials are warning this could be the worst fire season since 2012, when neighborhoods went up in flames around Colorado Springs during the Waldo Canyon Fire.

Studies show that in response to climate change and development practices, there's a tendency for larger, more destructive fires, along with longer wildfire seasons in the West.

Go deeper

Updated 16 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1:30 a.m. ET: 31,779,835 — Total deaths: 975,104 — Total recoveries: 21,890,442Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 1:30 a.m. ET: 6,933,548 — Total deaths: 201,884 — Total recoveries: 2,670,256 — Total tests: 97,459,742Map.
  3. Health: CDC director says over 90% of Americans have not yet been exposed to coronavirus — Supply shortages continue to plague testing.
  4. Politics: Missouri Gov. Mike Parson tests positive for coronavirus — Poll says 51% of Republicans trust Trump on coronavirus more than the CDC.
  5. Technology: The tech solutions of 2020 may be sapping our resolve to beat the coronavirus
  6. Vaccines: Johnson & Johnson begins large phase 3 trial — The FDA plans to toughen standards.
  7. Sports: Less travel is causing the NBA to see better basketball.
  8. Future: America's halfway coronavirus response

"Not enough": Protesters react to no murder charges in Breonna Taylor case

A grand jury on Wednesday indicted Brett Hankison, one of the Louisville police officers who entered Breonna Taylor's home in March, on three counts of wanton endangerment for firing shots blindly into neighboring apartments.

Details: Angering protesters, the grand jury did not indict any of the three officers involved in the botched drug raid on homicide or manslaughter charges related to the death of Taylor.

Two officers shot in Louisville amid Breonna Taylor protests

Police officers stand guard during a protest in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo: Ben Hendren/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Louisville Metro Police Department said two officers were shot downtown in the Kentucky city late Wednesday, just hours after a grand jury announced an indictment in the Breonna Taylor case.

Details: A police spokesperson told a press briefing a suspect was in custody and that the injuries of both officers were not life-threatening. One officer was "alert and stable" and the other was undergoing surgery, he said.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!