Silverthorne area homes evacuated by wildfire burning in nearby mountains

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SILVERTHORNE |  The residents of several hundred homes have been evacuated or warned to be ready to leave because of a wildfire burning in Colorado’s north-central mountains.

Evacuations were first ordered Monday evening near Silverthorne shortly after the fire was reported on U.S. Forest Service land. The Ptarmigan Fire was burning on about 60 acres (24 hectares) around midday Tuesday, after growing about 40 acres  overnight, an amount which surprised officials, Dillon District Ranger Adam Bianchi said, the Summit Daily News reported.

Air tankers and a helicopter were initially used to try to slow the fire’s growth and prevent it from moving downhill toward residential areas because it was considered too dangerous to send in firefighters on the ground.

Officials have some hope that forecasted cooler weather in the mountains, where it has been dropping below freezing at night, and possible rain and snow in the coming days will also help.

While a historic drought in the American West tied to climate change is making wildfires harder to fight, Colorado has largely been spared from significant wildfires this year.