Lightning storm looms as 416 wildfire grows to 25,900 acres near Durango

With fire conditions already at historically dangerous levels in southwest Colorado, firefighters are nervously watching a forecast that calls for an approaching lightning storm that could spark new fires and bring strong winds that could push the 416 fire into neighborhoods north of Durango.

“It’s not good news,” said Shawn Dawden, spokesman for the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team.

A red flag watch is in place as a storm approaches the southwest mountains. The storm is expected to include dangerous cloud-to-mountain lightning strikes and winds that could reach 40 mph, Dawden said.

Over the last 24 hours, the voracious 416 wildfire consumed another 2,522 acres of mostly forest lands west of U.S. Highway 550, Dawden said Wednesday morning. The fire is 15 percent contained.

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