AP News in Brief 06-13-18

  • In this Monday, June 11, 2018, photo, flames consume trees during a burnout operation that was performed south of County Road 202 near Durango, Colo. Firefighters use the technique as a means to control wildfires. (Jerry McBride/The Durango Herald via AP)

New wildfire erupts near Colorado ski resorts, houses

DENVER — A wildfire erupted Tuesday in an area of Colorado known for its ski resorts, forcing the evacuation of more than 1,300 homes and marking the latest in a series of blazes that have ignited in the drought-stricken U.S. West.

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The fire in central Colorado had burned only about 100 acres but was dangerously close to two densely populated housing developments near the town of Silverthorne, about 60 miles west of Denver.

“This area, there is a lot of homes that are pretty tightly packed together,” U.S. Forest Service spokesman Adam Bianchi said. “Being a resort town, there’s a need for a lot of housing and there’s only so much available space for good land to build on.”

Bianchi said the Buffalo Fire had come to within about 200 yards (183 meters) of a subdivision that includes condos, apartments and pricey homes. The closest ski resort to the fire, Keystone, is about 8 miles away and across a large reservoir.

About 50 firefighters were battling the blaze initially, but more were on the way, along with heavy air tankers and helicopters.

Colorado’s largest blaze also kept burning in the San Juan National Forest, which has been closed to the public to try to prevent additional fires. The 416 Fire north of Durango in southwest Colorado has burned about 36 square miles and is partially contained. No homes have been lost.

Federal judge approves the AT&T-Time Warner merger

WASHINGTON — A federal judge approved the $85 billion mega-merger of AT&T and Time Warner on Tuesday, potentially ushering in a wave of media consolidation while shaping how much consumers pay for streaming TV and movies.

U.S. District Judge Richard Leon green-lit the merger without imposing major conditions as some experts had expected. The Trump Justice Department had sued to block the $85 billion merger, arguing that it would hurt competition in cable and satellite TV and jack up costs to consumers for streaming TV and movies.

Now, the phone and pay-TV giant AT&T will be allowed to absorb the owner of CNN, HBO, the Warner Bros. movie studio, “Game of Thrones,” coveted sports programming and other “must-see” shows. The Justice Department could appeal the ruling, although it said only that it is considering its options.

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The ruling could open the floodgates to deal making in the fast-changing worlds of entertainment production and distribution. Major cable, satellite and phone companies are bulking up with purchases of entertainment conglomerates to compete against rivals born on the internet such as Amazon and Google.

By wire sources