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Wind-whipped fire temporarily closes Highway 550 near Bondad

STEVE LEWIS/Durango Herald - DURANGO - 06/23/12 - U.S. Highway 550 was shut down for about three hours from the state line four miles north to Bondad while firefighters battled the State Line Fire.

By Shane Benjamin Herald staff writer

A second wildfire in the area Saturday burned about 80 acres of land and closed a four-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 550 between Bondad and the Colorado-New Mexico line for more than three hours.

Several residents were notified they may need to evacuate, but no evacuations had been ordered as of 7 p.m. Firefighters said heavy smoke obstructed visibility across U.S. 550, making it unsafe for drivers. They also needed the highway to stage vehicles, said Dave Imming, spokesman for the Durango Fire & Rescue Authority.

The highway was reopened about 7:30 Saturday evening.

The blaze, dubbed the State Line Fire, was reported at 3:36 p.m. Saturday along the west side of the highway, about two miles north of the state line. Firefighters were unsure if any structures had been lost. Helicopters and air tankers were working the blaze Saturday evening.

The fire threatened several homes and gas well pads near the southern end of La Posta Road (County Road 213), Imming said.

Residents living along the highway and near the southern end of La Posta Road were told they may need to evacuate. Firefighters also were concerned erratic winds could ignite spot fires on the east side of the highway, Imming said.

But late Saturday evening, winds were pushing the fire predominantly in a westerly direction.

Its at the whim of the wind right now, he said.

shane@durangoherald.com

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