A 2-month-old Colorado wildfire earlier thought to have posed little threat forced hundreds of evacuations Saturday when it burned through three miles of forest in 30 minutes, fueled by 70-mph winds, officials said.
More than 500 residents in Larimer County were ordered to evacuate suddenly in the morning when the Fern Lake Fire overnight consumed thousands of acres of rough terrain and brittle, dead trees killed by beetle infestation.
The fire started Oct. 9 and has destroyed more than 4,400 acres, mostly hilly, Rocky Mountain National Park terrain with few homes in the fire’s path, said Estes Park official Laurie Button. The fire claimed its first structure overnight when it burned a cabin, she said.
By Saturday afternoon, the winds had died down and about 150 firefighters were able to keep the advancing flames in check, she said.