GRAND COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) - Windy, dry conditions pushed the East Troublesome Fire across Colorado Highway 125 Wednesday afternoon. Large amounts of smoke could be see from the Front Range.
Mandatory evacuations were ordered for those on the east side of the highway between mile post 5 and Highway 40. Willow Creek Reservoir is included in this area.
More mandatory evacuation orders were given for the entire town of Grand Lake, Trail Creek subdivision, Area H and residents north of mile marker 3 on Highway 34.
The Grand County Office of Emergency Management used both lanes of Highway 34 to move traffic south. Trail Ridge Road is also open to traffic leaving from the Grand Lake area.
"The Sheriff's Department states that fire is threatening the Grand Lake area. Fire crews are working to contain the fire to the west side of Hwy 34," said OEM officials.
An evacuation center has been set up at the Inn at Silver Creek, U.S. 40 in Granby.
Hwy 40 is closed between the intersection of Hwy 34 and Hwy 40 west to Hot Sulphur Springs, officials announce Wednesday night.
"Firefighters will be conducting burn operations north of Hwy 40 between Hot Sulphur Springs and Hwy 34. There will be visible flames with this operation," said OEM officials.
Fire officials say they could not engage with the initial spot fire on the east side of Hwy 125 because of the amount of smoke and wind. Crews report the fire grew to the south of Little Gravel Mountain.
The fire is burning west of Lake Granby and Grand Lake. Fire officials say the fire crossed Hwy 125 at Cabin Creek toward Lake Granby and Grand Lake.
The fire has burned an estimated 30,000 acres as of Wednesday afternoon and is 10% contained. Nearly 300 people are helping fight the fire, and officials say more people are arriving.
Crews are working on structure protection along Hwy 125 as the night goes on. Fire officials say the fire has moved mostly to the northeast, but also started moving south.
Fire officials say they spent a good part of Wednesday trying to attain more firefighters to help.
However, the fire outpaced some "dozer" work, officials say.
"The fire is growing faster than we can catch it right now," said Fire Incident Commander Jake Winfield.
Crews and officials say they are watching the weather forecast with hopeful hearts.
"We're keeping our fingers crossed," said Winfield. "We're hoping for significant snow."
Crews have set up hose lays and sprinklers around structures along the highway.
The expectation earlier Wednesday was smoke from the northwest and southeast edges of the fire would provide a shadow on the northeastern finger of the fire -- slowing its growth toward Hwy 125.
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