San Juan National Forest to implement forest-wide closure order

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An order expected to be signed Tuesday, June 12, will close the San Juan National Forest, including entry by the general public. The purpose of the closure is to protect natural resources and public safety, as Forest Service enters Stage 3 fire closure due to the danger of wildland fire.

The closure means day use areas, roads, and trails will be closed, including wilderness areas. Hiking, dispersed camping and other recreational activities will be prohibited. Exemptions must be granted by petition from the USFS.

The SJNF covers 1.8 million acres within the Dolores Ranger District, the Columbine Ranger District and the Pagosa Ranger District across nine counties in southwestern Colorado.

In the southwest region, two active fires continue to grow. The 416 fire north of Durango, which started June 1, has grown to nearly 20,000 acres and is 10 percent contained with an estimated containment date of June 30. Several thousand are under mandatory evacuation, and US 550 is closed from just north of Durango north to Molas Pass. The Burro fire, located 14 miles south of Rico, which started June 8, has grown to 1,000 acres and is zero percent contained with an estimated containment date of July 15.