Wildfires destroy Utah homes, prompt Colorado evacuations

Entire San Juan National Forest To Be Closed To Public

Entire San Juan National Forest To Be Closed To Public

"Bam! Bam! Bam! Bam!" The cause of the fire is unknown and is 0 percent contained. It was not near the tourist-heavy areas in the town known for its proximity to Arches and Canyonlands national parks.

The blazes destroyed more than 12,300 homes and other structures.

A local inn, The Gonzo Inn, also offered vacant rooms to those affected, continuing to assist victims with lodging after rooms had been filled, CBS affiliate KUTV reported.

Gusting winds and stubborn hot, dry weather in southwestern Colorado helped stoke a largely uncontrolled wildfire that grew by almost a third to more than 22,000 acres (8,900 hectares) on Monday, with more than 2,000 homes under evacuation order.

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 Buffalo Fire broke out Tuesday on a mountain near Silverthorne in Summit County, forcing the evacuation of more than 1,300 homes.

Berino says "some type of human element is probably likely" as a cause, although he asked residents not to speculate.

Since 2006, the U.S. Forest Service has created a 900-acre buffer between the houses and the trees there, CBS Denver reported.

The 416 fire isn't the only wildfire that fire crews have to contend with in southern Colorado; nearby, in an even more remote section of the San Juans, the "Burro" fire has consumed approximately 2,800 acres of forest land, according to a report issued Wednesday, June 13.

And in southwestern Colorado, residents of about 180 homes were allowed back home because a fire there is no longer considered a threat to the homes. Forests are also closed in Arizona and New Mexico in areas that are suffering from a severe drought.

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"As soon as they raise the level (to extreme), then we'll go ahead and implement closures", Clelland said.

No homes have been lost although the fire came close to buildings Sunday night, authorities said.

"We learned a lot from the disasters, the fires we had in 2012 and 2013", Hickenlooper told reporters.

The Forest Service will declare a forest-wide Stage 3 fire closure.

In central Utah, a wildfire fed by dry conditions and swift winds consumed more than 10 square miles (26 square kilometers) and burned a cabin.

Fires are raging across Colorado, keeping crews busy as they fight to protect homes from flames fueled by drought, tinder-dry air and Rocky Mountain winds.

No one has been hurt and no structures have burned down.

There are still more than a thousand homes evacuated.

The total cost of firefighting operations has reached an estimated $10 million to date, Knight said.

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