Fire threatens Colorado mountain town of 400

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email
 Two backcountry fires started by lightning earlier this month in southwestern Colorado are growing and producing lots of smoke.

Photo via 9News

UPDATE 1:06 p.m.

SOUTH FORK, Colo. (AP) -- A massive wildfire working overtime in hot, windy weather is threatening a tourist town in Colorado's southwestern mountains.

South Fork is home to about 400 full-time residents and was evacuated as the 47-square-mile acre West Fork Fire moved closer Friday.

Wildland firefighters were teaming up with local firefighters to try to protect the town, which is surrounded by the Rio Grande National Forest.

The fire is about seven miles southwest of town and has been advancing at rate of about a mile an hour.

Fire spokeswoman Penny Bertram says she won't speculate on the likelihood of the town burning, just that it's at high risk.

UPDATE 12:06 p.m.

SOUTH FORK, Colo. (AP) -- A massive wildfire is headed toward a Colorado mountain town, and fire managers say the chances of saving it are slim.

The tourist town of South Fork was evacuated Friday morning as the 47-square-mile acre West Fork Fire moved closer. Wildland firefighters were teaming up with local firefighters to try to save the town, which is surrounded by forest.

Fire spokesman Penny Bertram says officials rate the chances of saving the town of about 400 full-time residents as "low to moderate."

Bertram says the hot, dry and windy weather along with large stands of beetle-killed trees are causing extreme fire behavior. While most fires actively burn four hours a day, this one is burning for 12.

The fictional Griswold family camped in South Fork in 1983's "National Lampoon's Vacation."


DENVER (AP) -- The mountain town of South Fork is being evacuated as two wildfires continue to grow nearby.

Authorities say the town's 400 residents need to leave by 10 a.m. Friday. The largest of the blazes, the West Fork Fire, is burning on nearly 20 square miles and has spread into the Rio Grande National Forest, which surrounds the town.

People who live between Wolf Creek Pass and the town limits were ordered to leave Thursday.

Meanwhile, in southern Colorado, about 20 homes have been evacuated by the East Peak Fire near La Veta. Residents of another 500 homes have been advised to prepare to leave just in case.

View Colorado wildfires in a larger map

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