New wildfire erupts near Colorado ski resorts, houses

Extreme fire danger in the West forces another national forest to close

A new wildfire burning in Colorado's mountains is dangerously close to a ski resort town. According to the most recent report from the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team, the fire has consumed almost 30,000 acres and is only 15 percent contained.

The communities of Mountain Home, Wold Tract, and Wycolo are under evacuation orders from Albany County officials.

"We recognize the conditions are dry and hot", Gov. John HIckenlooper said in a statement.

The Buffalo fire is burning in an area of unincorporated Summit County near the Wildernest and Mesa Cortina subdivisions - where residents of about 1,400 units were ordered to flee immediately.

The Badger Creek Fire grew rapidly Monday because of strong winds and dry conditions and had scorched about 3.6 square miles (9.3 square kilometers) of mostly beetle-killed forest.

The 12-day-old conflagration, dubbed the 416 Fire, was by far the largest and most threatening of at least a half-dozen blazes raging across Colorado as the 2018 summer wildfire season heated up across the Western United States.

"There were big black rolling clouds coming off it and it had gotten to the edge of the forest, right next to the neighborhood", he added. "I called my mom to see if a fire was reported, and she said there was and that we need to get off the mountain".

"We recognize that this is hard for the local businesses and the local economy and just ask that people just be understanding and patient", Hooley said.

Moab resident Shane Tangren told the newspaper that he arrived home from work Tuesday evening to find flames nearby.

Much of the U.S. West is experiencing some level of drought and the Four Corners region - where Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado meet - is at the center of a large patch of exceptional drought.

As the east side of U.S. Highway 550 becomes more secure, fire officials are pulling firefighters from the area to help on other parts of the fire.

The fire in the Medicine Bow National Forest began Sunday about 2 miles north of the Colorado border. The full closure, which the Associated Press reports last took place in 2002, does not affect roads that cross through the forest.

The fire burning 10 miles north of Durango had consumed 42 square miles as of Thursday morning and was 15 percent contained.

All 1.8 million acres of the San Juan National Forest in southwestern Colorado were due to be closed to visitors by Tuesday, the US Department of Agriculture said, citing the fire danger. The objective of the closure is to protect natural resources and public safety due to the danger of wildland fire.

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