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Wildfire closing in on Colo. town

SOUTH FORK, Colo. — A massive wildfire threatened a tourist town in Colorado’s southwestern mountains on Friday, as its roughly 400 residents emptied out ahead of the fast-burning blaze fueled by hot, windy weather.

Wildland firefighters teamed up with local firefighters to try to protect South Fork, which is surrounded by the Rio Grande National Forest. State authorities said the 47-square-mile fire is about seven miles southwest of town and has been advancing at a rate of about a mile an hour.

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The town is a popular spot for hiking and camping. The fictional Griswold family camped in South Fork in 1983’s ‘‘National Lampoon’s Vacation.’’

Residents were being sent to a high school in a neighboring town.

South Fork’s mayor, Kenneth Brooke, sent his children and grandchildren to a safe location and stayed behind, helping responders prepare for hosing down structures.

‘‘I just tell them it doesn’t look good,’’ Brook said by phone Friday. ‘‘I tell them the truth, that the fire is coming. I just tell them to keep themselves safe, evacuate as need be and don’t come back.

‘‘We’re just watching the fire and doing what we can for people’s properties, but mostly it’s just waiting. Right now I’m saying, ‘Stay out.’ ”

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