Wildfires have burned across tens of thousands of acres of parched terrain in Colorado, spurring thousands of evacuations and compelling officials to seal off a national forest from the public on Tuesday.
A total of six wildfires were still active in the state, which has endured months of dry weather and little snowfall. The largest, in southwest Colorado, was known as the 416 fire because it was the 416th incident to be called in to emergency officials this year. As of Tuesday morning, it had consumed more than 23,000 acres on the edge of San Juan National Forest and was only about 15 percent contained, according to an interagency team. The authorities said they will keep the national forest closed until it receives “sufficient moisture to improve conditions.”
Detected at the beginning of the month, the fire has prompted evacuations of more than 2,160 residences so far and put residents of another 500 homes on notice for possible evacuation, according to the authorities. No deaths or injuries have been reported, officials said; residents have sought shelter in middle schools and local officials fear tourists usually drawn to the region for the summer may not come.