San Juan Forest to close indefinitely

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- A crew from the Grand Junction Fire Department has been working the 416 fire for a week.

"You never know with fire behavior how long you are going to be down there. But they can be gone for up to two weeks," said Public Information Officer for GJFD, Ellis Thompson-Ellis.

And they have been hard at work.

"Our crew for the entire week has been assigned to structure protection, so making sure that people's homes are safe," Thompson-Ellis said.

But despite fire fighter's efforts, the San Juan National Forest will close.

"Reasons of public safety and protection of resources and property, that's why the decision was made," said U.S. Park Ranger Cam Hooley.

Rangers say its a precaution because they don't want more fire trouble.

"The concern is that we wanted to prevent more human-caused fires from starting," Hooley said.

Due to the 416 and Burro fires, manpower is already thin.

"With the amount of resources on those fires, it's a concern if another one were to break if there would be resources to go around," Hooley said.

"If they need resources after a two-week deployment, that crew will actually come home, and we can send more people if we have that available," Thompson-Ellis said.

Everyone in the forest has to get out. And its possible they could be headed north towards Grand Junction.

"They could look around for private campgrounds, or they could look further, to some of our forests to the north," Hooley said.

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