Summit County wildfire breaks out in Buffalo Mountain area

Entire San Juan National Forest To Be Closed To Public

Entire San Juan National Forest To Be Closed To Public

In Colorado, massive wildfires displaced thousands of people and destroyed tens of thousands of acres, while in Beverly Hills some residents were forced to flee their homes Tuesday as flames erupted and threatened million dollar mansions. The unsafe fires have prompted some evacuations from southern California to Colorado. The full closure, which the Associated Press reports last took place in 2002, does not affect roads that cross through the forest.

Multiple wildfires are already burning in the area, including the 23,000-acre 416 Fire near Durango, Colorado, and the 41,000-acre Buzzard Fire in west-central New Mexico.

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.

In Wyoming near the border with Colorado, about 400 homes have been evacuated because of another fire.

The fire 13 miles (43 kilometers) north of Durango has blackened more than 45 square miles (116 square kilometers) and forced officials to close the San Juan National Forest in the Four Corners Region. They have requested hand crews and a "big air attack", saying they hope to keep the fire from jumping the well-established fire break around Mesa Cortina and Wildernest. They remain on pre-evacuation notice.

Images from the scene showed thick smoke pouring into the air and aerial firefighting resources trying to tamp down the blaze.

Incident commander Todd Pechota told evacuated residents Saturday that the situation is "going to get worse before it gets better", the Herald reported.

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In New Mexico, the Santa Fe National Forest was closed days ago "due to extreme fire danger", the Forest Service said.

Fire officials have been expecting a busy wildfire season after a dry winter, possibly the worst since 2012 and 2013, when the Black Forest Fire in El Paso County destroyed almost 500 homes, the most in state history.

In southern Wyoming, firefighters battled a 17-square-mile (44 square kilometer) fire in the Medicine Bow National Forest that forced the evacuation of almost 400 homes in 10 small communities.

The closure will remain in effect "until the forest receives sufficient moisture to improve conditions", according to a statement.

The San Juan and Santa Fe forests alone represent more than 5,000 square miles. The cause of the fire is not known.

The fire is still under investigation.

Officials said the blaze was initially emitting embers that were starting spot fires within about 250 feet of homes and structures.

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