Buffalo Mountain Fire forces evacuations near Silverthorne

Entire San Juan National Forest To Be Closed To Public

Forests are also closed in Arizona and New Mexico in areas that are suffering from a severe drought. And rangers say campers are failing to extinguish their campfires, creating an untenable situation.

In the southwest corner of Colorado, where crews are dealing with multiple fires in the San Juan forest, winds are lighter, but the heat continues with temperatures in the upper 80s and low 90s.

In southern Wyoming near the Colorado border, the so-called Badger Creek Fire in Medicine Bow National Forest grew as evacuation orders were expanded to almost 400 homes in Albany County, according to the online USA fire information service. Businesses in local communities will remain open for business during the Forest closure at their discretion.

In Colorado's mountains, residents have evacuated more than 1,300 houses - condos, apartments and pricey homes - as flames threatened an area known for its ski resorts.

However, firefighters were counting on some relief from a promising shift in weather patterns forecast for Friday, some of it associated with Hurricane Bud. They're also concerned about mudslides.

"It's a huge step".

US Forest Service official Jim Genung said that fuel breaks added to the forests in recent years have saved thousands of homes from "having fire in them". "It's a big inconvenience and a big economic hit to the area".

A historic scenic railroad popular with tourists who come to area for hiking, camping and biking in the summer has stopped running because of the fire. Fire officials praised the mitigation work done by residents beforehand that has helped firefighters defend homes along the fire's path. "We're all praying for a good wet season".

Violating Stage 3 fire restrictions or going into a closed area carries a mandatory appearance in federal court, and is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment of up to six months, or both.

There are roughly 30 blazes burning across nine western states.

As of Monday night, the fire was 15 percent contained, the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team said.

A destructive fire raged through Moab, Utah, destroying eight homes.

By afternoon, though, officials were optimistic about their battle against the Buffalo fire, which elicited a massive response of firefighters and firefighting aircraft and was burning on about 100 acres in the White River National Forest.

The lightning-sparked fire has burned 170 acres (69 hectares) on the Mogollon Rim since it began Wednesday in Cococino County.

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