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Fire Breaks Out In Keystone Gulch

KEYSTONE, Colo. (CBS4/AP)- A fire burning west of Keystone Ski Area Thursday evening has forced some homes to be evacuated.

The fire has burned 20 acres in slash piles, according to Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue spokesman Steve Lipsher. About 20 homes, including condominiums, were evacuated east of Soda Ridge Road as a precaution. Firefighters hope to have everyone back home by midnight.

Keystone Lodge is being used as the evacuation center for those forced from their homes.

A fire burns west of Keystone Ski Area Thursday evening. (credit: CBS)

Officials with Lake Dillon Fire and Rescue said the fire is fueled by gusting winds and dead trees. Firefighters are working in structure protection mode.

About 30 firefighters were trying to keep the blaze away from the homes and out of stands of dead trees. Several mountain communities and the U.S. Forest Service have been warning that the millions of acres killed by bark beetles could provide fuel for catastrophic wildfires.

Lipsher said more crews were expected to arrive in the Keystone area. A helicopter has been requested. Federal firefighters will take over management of the fire on Friday, including a Type 3 team. What caused the fire is being investigated.

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