DURANGO, Colo. (AP) — Officials warned people Thursday to be careful as a southwestern Colorado forest and other public lands re-opened amid warm, dry weather in the area plagued by drought and wildfire.

Trails, roads and campsites in San Juan National Forest and Bureau of Land Management land around Durango were set to open later in the day.

DURANGO, CO – JUNE 12: The smoke from the 416 fire obscures the sun as it continues to burn on June 12, 2018 in Durango, Colorado. The fire, burning 23 miles northwest of Durango, started June 1 and has now burned 25,900 acres. No homes have burned and no firefighters have been injured. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

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Open fires, outdoor smoking and shooting firearms are among the things banned in the forest to prevent another wildfire.


Forest officials say as much as 1.5 inches of rain — the remnants of Hurricane Bud — fell in some parts of the 2,800 square mile forest over two days last weekend, more than typically falls during an entire average June.

The Forest Service said meteorologists and fire behavior experts do not expect extreme conditions to return before the arrival of summer monsoon season in the Four Corners region, where Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Utah meet.

HERMOSA, CO – JUNE 12: The large plume of the 416 fire begins to build in the dry afternoon in the San Juan National Forest on June 12, 2018 in Hermosa, Colorado. The fire, burning 23 miles northwest of Durango, started June 1 and has burned over 22,000 acres. The county enacted Stage 3 fire restrictions and made the unusual move to close the San Juan National Forest as the 416 Fire continues to burn. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

The area has the worst drought conditions in the nation’s rating system.

Fire officials battling a 53 square mile wildfire that started in the forest on June 1 said Thursday that the rain’s impact is rapidly dissipating. Gusty winds were expected Friday along with low humidity.

The fire has not spread much since the rain. Residents of more than 2,000 evacuated homes have been allowed to return.

The fire and closure of the forest have hurt the tourism-reliant economy.

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A fund has been set up to help people who lost work, and Durango residents have sent food to the mountain town of Silverton, the destination of a scenic railroad that has been shut down by the fire and conditions.

Breweries across Colorado plan a fundraiser Saturday, vowing to “fight fire with beer.”

Ann Rapp, whose company takes people on horseback rides mostly in the forest, told The Durango Herald that she has already lost more than $30,000 because of canceled trips. Still, she has mixed feelings about the re-opening of the forest.

“It can save our business this summer,” she said. “But at the same time, I really hope that everybody’s super careful and don’t start another fire.”

Wildfire Resources

– Visit CBSDenver.com’s Living With Wildfire section.

Wildfire Photo Galleries

– See images from the most destructive wildfires (Black Forest, Waldo Canyon, High Park and Fourmile), the deadliest (Storm King) and largest wildfire (Hayman) in Colorado history.

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