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The Mountain West News Bureau is a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Wildfires In New Mexico, Colorado, Utah Could Be Start Of A Busy Season

The 416 Fire near Durango, Colo., on June 2.
The 416 Fire near Durango, Colo., on June 2.

Wildfire season is ramping up in the region. Fire teams are now working to quash one outside Durango, Colorado, and Utah recently stopped another. That state is now doing prescribed burns to reduce the chance of a bigger blaze.

This fire season, we’re following people involved in fighting wildfires behind the scenes, from scientists to cooks. One of them, Makoto Moore, has already been dispatched.

Usually, Moore is based in Pueblo, Colorado, where he’s a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. But over the weekend, he got a call: They needed him to head south, to a wildfire across the border in New Mexico.

A thousand people had been evacuated from the area around Ute Park.

“I thought it was bad in my neck of the woods. And down here, they’ve received even less precipitation, less snowfall,” says Moore. “This entire area is dry.”

Moore is now working to set up portable weather stations to monitor how changes in wind and rain could affect the fire.

Others are blazing in the region, too, like one outside Durango, Colorado called the 416 Fire.

“It may be a busy season,” says Moore. “Everything is kind of pointing towards that. We’ll still have to wait and see.”

The blaze near Durango is expected to continue burning in coming days. Firefighters are now working to protect homes in the area.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, Yellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado. 

Copyright 2020 KUNC. To see more, visit KUNC.

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