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South Fork fire forces 1,500 people to evacuate

South Fork fire: More than 600 fire fighters are battling the Colorado wildfire, and their efforts remained focused on protecting South Fork. So far, no homes have been lost.

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Colorado State Patrol officer Jessie Bartunek at a checkpoint near South Fork, Colo., Sunday, June 23, 2013. A large wildfire in southern Colorado continues to be driven by winds and fueled by dead trees in a drought-stricken area, authorities said Sunday.

(AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

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Tourists and business owners forced to flee a popular summer retreat in the southwestern Colorado mountains resigned themselves to a long wait as fire officials declined to speculate when they might be able to reign in an unprecedented and erratic blaze raging through the Rio Grande National Forest.

The South Fork fire more than doubled in size over the weekend, growing to an estimated 114 miles by Sunday night, authorities said.

And heavy winds fanning drought-stricken, beetle-killed forest showed no signs of relenting before Tuesday, fire officials said.

"They just said they had no idea how long it would be before we could back in South Fork," said Mike Duffy, who owns the South Fork Lodge.

 
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