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Controlled burn makes a run for it

STEVE LEWIS/ Durango Herald

Local and federal officials respond to a wildland fire west of U.S. Highway 550 near County Road 216 south of Durango on Saturday afternoon.

By Robert Galin Herald staff writer

Residents in the Sunnyside area near County Roads 215 and 216 were put on pre-evacuation status Saturday afternoon after a controlled burn nearby went out of control, said Butch Knowlton, director of the La Plata County Office of Emergency Management. By 5 p.m., about 20 acres had been scorched, he said.

The fire “had pretty much laid down,” and the pre-evacuation order was being reassessed. The fire was burning along the Animas River in the valley floor, Knowlton said.

Agencies responding to the blaze included Los Piños Fire Protection District, Upper Pine Fire Protection District, Durango Fire & Rescue Authority, the U.S. Forest Service San Juan Hotshots and La Plata County Road and Bridge crews with water tankers, Knowlton said.

Hand crews were expected to build fire lines during the evening, and Knowlton said crews would be on scene overnight.

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