(SOUTH FORK, Colo.) — A shift in the winds Friday night has fire officials sounding more optimistic about the fate of the tiny Colorado town of South Fork.
The tourist town in southwestern Colorado is threatened by the “West Fork Complex,” a combination of two giant wildfires which have already scorched 42,000 acres of land. The flames were headed directly towards the town, but a change in the weather turned the flames away.
South Fork is also lucky because the behavior of the fire has changed due to the type of forest it has encountered. The blaze initially exploded in size because it was burning in dead, dry, beetle-killed forests, but officials say it’s now burning living Ponderosa and Aspen forests where the fire doesn’t burn as hot.
The fire is currently 3 to 5 miles outside of South Fork, and firefighters are standing by in case the weather changes again.
The town’s 400 residents and hundreds of tourists have already been evacuated, and no homes have been destroyed.
“We’re still here,” South Fork Police Chief James Chavez told ABC News.
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Holly Yan and Nick Valencia, CNN
Jacqueline Howard, CNN
Aaron Smith, CNN