A fire of about 7,000 acres in Arizona was darkening skies over Durango and filling the air with the smell of smoke Wednesday afternoon.
Ann Bond, spokeswoman for the San Juan Public Lands Center, said an analysis of satellite maps led officials to conclude smoke over the region was coming primarily from the Wallow Fire, which started Sunday 18 miles southwest of Alpine, Ariz.
“We think most of our smoke is coming from there,” Bond said Wednesday afternoon.
The fire, about 300 miles away, is in the vicinity of the Apache and Sitgreaves national forests. More than 400 people were involved in fighting the fire, according to an official fire information website, www.inciweb.org. An unknown number of evacuations was ordered.
The difficult terrain was complicating efforts to fight the fire. The potential for fire growth was rated as high, according to the website.
The location of the fire was not far from the 2002 Rodeo-Chediski Fire, which burned almost a half-million acres and was the biggest wildfire in Arizona’s history.
Despite the haze and smell of smoke in Durango, the local risk of fire remains moderate, Bond said.
The haze, however, is likely to persist with a wind advisory in effect for the area until 9 p.m. today, according to the National Weather Service in Grand Junction.
Residents can expect blowing dust today and temperatures in the low 80s, the weather service’s website showed. Winds could gust as high as 45 mph.