Over 20 Rescued from Colorado Hiking Trail as Wildfires Continue in Western U.S.
The 23 hikers, as well as three dogs, were evacuated via helicopter on Monday
Rescue workers with the Juan County Sheriff's Department and The U.S. Forest Service evacuated 23 people and three dogs from the San Juan National Forest in Colorado on Monday night as a wildfire tore through the area.
The U.S. Forest Service deployed helicopters for the evacuation.
According to the Office of Emergency Management in San Juan County, the blaze — dubbed the Ice Fire — started on Monday just after 1 p.m. local time in the South Mineral Creek area above the park's Ice Lakes trailhead, and burned 320 acres by 5 p.m.
Per their last update, the U.S. Forest Service had air and ground "wildland fire crews" working on containing the Ice Fire with "tanker planes and a hotshot squad."
Officials also eased any worry for Silverton and San Juan County residents, confirming that there is "no imminent threat of evacuation at this time." However, they added that "it is good to be prepared given the proximity of the Ice Fire."
"Silverton/San Juan County residents should familiarize themselves with the READY, SET, GO evacuation plan. This is a three-phase plan that will be activated if an evacuation is ordered. Each step will be communicated with specific instructions for San Juan County citizens," officials with the Office of Emergency Management said.
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The Ice Fire is just one of several wildfires burning across the country in a record-breaking fire season.
According to CNN, there have already been 46,148 wildfires this year, burning more than 8.4 million acres. The National Interagency Fire Center told the outlet that "this is 2.1 million more acres burned than the 10-year average."
Just last week, thousands of Colorado residents were forced to evacuate their homes as the Cameron Peak Fire and the CalWood Fire ravaged the state.
The Cameron Peak Fire became the largest fire in Colorado state history — and has burned 204,404 acres, InciWeb reports.
To help communities facing destructive wildfires in the Western U.S., consider donating to the following organizations:
• The American Red Cross allows donors to direct funds to support people impacted by the fires.
• GlobalGiving’s Wildfire Relief offers emergency funding to local efforts providing essentials to wildfire victims in need.
• GoFundMe’s California Wildfire Relief Fund aims to “support a range of needs” by issuing “grants to individuals, organizations and communities that have either been impacted themselves or are dedicated to helping.“
• The California Fire Foundation “provides emotional and financial assistance to families of fallen firefighters, firefighters and the communities they protect.“