Wildfire chases tourists in Colo.
SOUTH FORK, Colo. — A huge wildfire threatened a tourist town in Colorado's southwestern mountains on Friday, forcing its roughly 400 residents to flee ahead of the fast-burning blaze fueled by hot, windy weather.
Wildland firefighters teamed up with local firefighters to try to protect South Fork, which is surrounded by the Rio Grande National Forest. State authorities said the 47-square-mile fire is about seven miles southwest of town and has been advancing at a rate of about a mile an hour. Thick smoke was limiting visibility.
Fire spokeswoman Penny Bertram wouldn't speculate on the likelihood of the town burning. There's a high probability of the fire reaching the town if the fire continues to behave as it has, though crews were staging resources to protect its buildings, she said.
“They're hedging their bets,” Bertram said.
Over 30 fire engines have been stationed near the town to protect it. An air tanker was also able to drop slurry ahead of the fire to try to slow its growth and giving firefighters a chance to dig a fire break, Bertram said.
Bertram and state authorities said the fire was several miles away from town by mid-afternoon but headed in its direction.
The town is a popular spot for hiking and camping. The fictional Griswold family camped in South Fork in 1983's “National Lampoon's Vacation.” The famous scene where a dog urinates on a picnic basket was filmed at South Fork's Riverbend Resort, called “Kamp Komfort” in the movie.
Residents were being sent to a high school in a neighboring town.
Firefighters have largely let the lightning-sparked fire burn because it's too hot and erratic to fight on the ground.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.