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Colorado wildfire doubles in size, thousands evacuated

Staff Writer |
A largely unchecked Colorado wildfire nearly doubled in size from Saturday to Sunday, prompting a fresh round of evacuations.

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The blaze is expected to grow in size as it is fueled by bone-dry conditions and pushed by gusting winds.

The so-called 416 Fire in southwest Colorado had burned nearly 17,000 acres (6,880 hectares) by Sunday afternoon, an area larger than Manhattan. More than 800 firefighters were battling the blaze located north of Durango, which was 10 percent contained, the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team said.

The fire had burned about 9,000 acres (3,640 hectares) by early on Saturday, according to an aerial survey.

A mandatory evacuation order was issued on Sunday for 859 residences, bringing the total number of homes under evacuation to about 2,000, La Plata County, Colorado, spokeswoman Megan Graham said.

Law enforcement officials were going door to door and residents have been warned to leave via calls to their phones, text message and emails, Graham said.

No structures have been destroyed so far, but the fire was a few hundred yards (meters) from homes with multiple aircraft dropping water and flame retardant to curtail the blaze, according to Inciweb, an interagency fire report.

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