And rangers say campers are failing to extinguish their campfires, creating an untenable situation.
After doubling in size from Saturday to Sunday, the wildfire, 13 miles north of the small city of Durango, covered 23,378 acres (9,461 hectares) and was just 15 percent contained, up from 10 percent over the weekend, said Cameron Eck, spokesman for the multi-agency team fighting the fire.
The origin of the fire is still unknown and the Medicine Bow National Forest is asking the public who might have been in the area Sunday afternoon to provide insight on what happened.
Until then, all 1.8 million acres, including the Piedra Area and the Weminuche and South San Juan wilderness areas, remain off limits.
The San Juan National Forest will be closed indefinitely. A number of Forest Roads in the area are closed, including Forest Roads 530, 544,501, 512 WA and the Mountain Home Trail System.
A satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe shows the 416 Fire northwest of Hermosa, Colo., which has forced the closure of the San Juan National Forest.
However, firefighters were counting on some relief from a promising shift in weather patterns forecast for Friday, some of it associated with Hurricane Bud.
"It's a huge step".
The closure order will prohibit entry into the San Juan National Forest, including entry by the general public, most administrative entry by Forest Service employees, and most uses authorized under Forest Service permits and contracts. "We don't do it lightly". Stables for evacuated horses are being offered by Albany County Fairgrounds or Glen w-Stonehouse Stables, according to the Forest Service. But what's worse, they know, are wildfires that could destroy neighboring forests and prompt tourists to stay away for decades until the trees grow back.
In New Mexico, the Santa Fe National Forest, along with portions of three national park sites, closed June 1 because of the fire danger.
Packard said the adobe-style resort has seen no impact from the forest closure and credited authorities with putting up signs telling visitors that local businesses are open.
"The Cibola is a high-use forest so this is not a decision that we made lightly", said Matt Rau, fire staff officer, in a statement.
Anyone caught violating the closure, SJNF said, could be punished with an individual fine of up to $5,000 or $10,000 for an organization, a six-month prison sentence, or both.
Winds were gusting about 15-35 miles per hour in Summit County Tuesday afternoon after the fire started, but are expected to settle to 5-10 miles per hour after about 6 p.m.
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.
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