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Article updated: 6/22/2013 11:12 AM

Firefighters keep guard over Colorado tourist town

Firefighters stage in a residential area in South Fork, Colo., as they monitor a wildfire that burns west of town on Friday evening June 21, 2013. The town was evacuated and U.S. 160 that passes through it was closed.

Firefighters stage in a residential area in South Fork, Colo., as they monitor a wildfire that burns west of town on Friday evening June 21, 2013. The town was evacuated and U.S. 160 that passes through it was closed.

 

Associated Press


 Smoke from the West Fork Fire surrounds drivers Friday on Colorado 149 near South Fork. The highway was later closed.

Smoke from the West Fork Fire surrounds drivers Friday on Colorado 149 near South Fork. The highway was later closed.

 

Associated Press

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By Associated Press

DEL NORTE, Colo. -- A massive wildfire that had been advancing ominously toward a tourist town in southwestern Colorado has grown to nearly 60 square miles. However, fire officials say the once fast-moving blaze has slowed.

No structures have been lost and officials are optimistic that they can protect the town of South Fork.

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It was not immediately clear when about 400 residents would be able to return to their homes, cabins and RV parks after being evacuated Friday.

The town is under threat from a complex of three different blazes fueled over the past few days by hot, dry, windy weather and miles of dead trees, killed in a beetle infestation.

Officials say some areas of the fire have retreated and slowed early Saturday after hitting healthier areas of the forest.

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