Air Quality

The 416 Fire continues to burn north and west of Hermosa along Highway 550 in La Plata County. This fire may impact air quality in the region. Fine particles in smoke are respiratory irritants, and exposures to high concentrations can cause persistent cough, phlegm, wheezing, and difficulty breathing. If you or a family member are experiencing any respiratory symptoms contact your primary care provider.

When smoke is heavy, like we’re seeing in the mornings, public health recommends limiting outdoor activity or staying indoors. This is especially true for those with heart disease, respiratory illnesses, the very young, and the elderly.

Real-time monitoring of smoke is available in Durango, as well as Silverton and Dolores. Air quality levels are reported out through the air quality index (AQI). DISCLAIMER: When viewing data on the map view of, please note that the real-time concentration of fine particulates is displayed. While this information is useful, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and San Juan Basin Public Health advise using the 24-hour average of PM2.5 for health recommendations. The PM2.5 24-hour average is the official health standard set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.



In partnership with Fort Lewis College, La Plata County and the Rocky Mountain Type 1 Incident Management Team, a new interactive map is available to show residents whether their home is under evacuation or pre-evacuation order, as well as how far the structure is from the 416 Fire perimeter.

The new fire evacuation map can be found at: Residents can enter an address to determine their home’s status. The map will be updated any time an evacuation is lifted or ordered for the 416 fire.

In order to enter these areas, residents must show their RapidTag credentials. If you do not have a RapidTag credential, call the La Plata County Call Center at (970) 385-8700 for distribution locations. Credentials are not required to return to pre-evacuated areas south of the road closures.


Large-scale wildfires dramatically alter the terrain and ground conditions. Flooding after fire is often more severe, as debris and ash left from the fire can form mudflows and leave large amounts of debris and waste. Quick cleanup and safe management of debris helps people to move forward with their lives. We also can reduce the potential for public health and environmental issues that may become worse the longer the debris piles up. Prompt cleanup helps prevent nuisance conditions, odors, disease and water contamination from runoff.

Retail Food Establishments

It is important to maintain control of food-borne illness risk factors in the aftermath of a disaster to decrease the risk of outbreaks in the community. Contact your local public health agency, San Juan Basin Public Health, at (970) 749-5042 once you have gained access to the property. An Environmental Health Specialist will provide you with information specific to your retail food establishment and what is needed to re-open.

Emergency Planning

It is always important to prepare your home and your family for a possible evacuation. Resources on preparing for evacuation are below.