About five homes were being evacuated and two subdivisions were on pre-evacuation notice Friday night for a wildland fire northeast of Durango.
The evacuations were ordered about 5:45 p.m. The homes are located west of County Road 501 and between county roads 502 and 240 (Florida Road), said La Plata County spokeswoman Megan Graham.
A couple hundred homes were placed on pre-evacuation notice between Helen's Store and County Road 501, including the Tween Lakes and Enchanted Forest subdivisions, meaning they should be prepared to evacuate if necessary.
County Road 245 was completely closed, she said.
The fire was reported about 3:45 p.m. on private property near Sunrise Lane and County Road 245, northeast of Durango.
It was putting up a straight column of smoke as of 5:30 p.m. and was burning through thick fuels, said Butch Knowlton, director of the county's office of emergency management.
"Lots of smoke, lots of country, lots of potential," Knowlton said about 5:30 p.m. while on scene. "Crews are trying to hold the fire and prevent it from moving into heavier timbered areas.
"We are concerned with the heavy growth of timber in that area between County Road 245 and County Road 240, and there is a potential of heavy wind tomorrow (Saturday) with a red flag warning," Knowlton said. "We want property owners in that area to be aware and monitor messages that will be coming from La Plata County Sheriff's Office and La Plata County Office of Emergency Management."
Upper Pine River Fire Protection District was providing structure protection for homes that were in close proximity to the fire, but as of 5:30 p.m., none of the homes were immediately threatened, Knowlton said.
The fire started near the east entry of Sunrise Lane, where it connects with County Road 245, he said.
"The cloud column is going basically straight up, but we're worried about the heavy timber ridge line area that is north of County Road 245 all the way over to County Road 240," Knowlton said.
Several resources, including a helicopter, were fighting the fire, said Cam Hooley, spokeswoman for the San Juan National Forest. Aircraft from the Durango Tanker Base were preparing to drop fire retardant on the blaze.
Light smoke from the fire was visible from Bayfield.
This is a developing story. Please check back with www.durangoherald.com for updates.