Hundreds of fire crews are battling a blaze in Northernthat grew dramatically Wednesday, producing heavy smoke and flames. The town of Grand Lake had to evacuate at short notice Wednesday night, and part of Rocky Mountain National Park is now closed.
Theis burning an estimated 6,000 acres per hour.
"It's getting worse and worse," a Grand County, Colorado resident said as they recorded the so-called East Troublesome Fire fill the sky with massive plumes of dark smoke. "It's bad. It's really bad."
Wind-fueled flames helped propel the fast-moving wildfire Wednesday afternoon, threatening hundreds of homes in the towns of Granby and Grand Lake just two hours north of Denver.
Grand County sheriff's officers traveled door to door, urging residents to leave their homes following a mandatory evacuation order in the late evening, CBS News correspondent Jonathan Vigliotti reports.
Officials say the East Troublesome Fire, which began last week, had already burned 30,000 acres by the time it exploded Wednesday night. The latest estimates say this fire has been through 125,000 acres so far. It's one of several major fires currently burning across the state, including the Cameron Peake Fire which has burned over 200,000 acres, the most in state history.
"We are in extreme drought conditions right now, and what we need is enough snow and enough moisture to really change those small fine fuels," said Reid Armstrong, a public affairs specialist for the Arapaho and Roosevelt national forests.
An estimated 442,000 acres of land in Colorado and Wyoming are being affected by the wildfires. Fire crews say that they will look for significant snow in the coming weeks to aid in their fight.