Colorado Wild Fire

Flames engulf trees in the Wildernest neighborhood near Silverthorne, Colo., Tuesday.

DENVER (AP) — A wildfire erupted Tuesday in an area of Colorado known for its ski resorts, forcing the evacuation of more than 1,300 homes and marking the latest in a series of blazes that have ignited in the drought-stricken U.S. West.

The fire in central Colorado had burned only about 100 acres but was dangerously close to two densely populated housing developments near the town of Silverthorne, about 60 miles (97 kilometers) west of Denver.

“This area, there is a lot of homes that are pretty tightly packed together,” U.S. Forest Service spokesman Adam Bianchi said. “Being a resort town, there’s a need for a lot of housing and there’s only so much available space for good land to build on.”

Bianchi said the Buffalo Fire had come to within about 200 yards (183 meters) of a subdivision that includes condos, apartments and pricey homes. The closest ski resort to the fire, Keystone, is about 8 miles (12.8 kilometers) away and across a large reservoir.

About 50 firefighters were battling the blaze initially, but more were on the way, along with heavy air tankers and helicopters.

“I was absolutely shocked by how fast it spread,” Silverthorne resident Jake Schulman told The Summit Daily after spotting the fire while hiking.

“There were big black rolling clouds coming off it and it had gotten to the edge of the forest, right next to the neighborhood,” he added.

The fire had not destroyed any homes as of Tuesday night.

Colorado’s largest blaze also kept burning in the San Juan National Forest, which has been closed to the public to try to prevent additional fires. The 416 Fire north of Durango in southwest Colorado has burned about 36 square miles (about 93 square kilometers) and is partially contained. No homes have been lost.