Colorado wildfire explodes in size and forces thousands to evacuate

A wildfire burning in Grand County, Colorado, has exploded from 19,000 acres to more than 125,000 on Thursday, forcing thousands of families to evacuate.

The so-called East Troublesome Fire raced through the town of Grand Lake and into the western portion of Rocky Mountain National Park, which closed to visitors Thursday, CBS Denver reported.

Thick smoke and flames were closing in on homes and terrifying residents. Security video even captured the scene as flames overtook a home. It was not immediately clear how much damage the fire caused in the Grand Lake community.

"We know that historic buildings and businesses are on people's minds, and we just don't have confirmed information at this time. Many of the buildings and the establishments, they are the heart and soul of our community. And as soon we know something definitive, we'll share with those who are affected and the community," Mayor Steve Kudron said late Thursday morning, according to the TV station.

East Troublesome Fire in Colorado
Jessy Ellenberger took this photo from the deck of her home north of Granby, Colorado. Jessy Ellenberger / AP

The flames are being driven by high winds and dead, dry timber.

"We plan for the worst. This is the worst of the worst of the worst," said Grand County Sheriff Brett Schroetlin while referencing the fire's 100,000-acre jump in mere hours.

Nearly 300 firefighters are battling the flames in dense wooded hills as the fire continues to spread into the national park. This wildfire could end up merging with the Cameron Peak Fire, which was reported to be burning just a few miles away, according to CBS Denver.

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    Omar Villafranca is a CBS News correspondent based in Dallas.