ESTES PARK, Colo. - As the Fern Lake Fire grew in intensity on Saturday, thick smoke spread through the Estes Park area.
"So smokey here," said Kris Hazelton, editor of the Estes Park News, who had been watching the fire grow since 2:30 a.m.
"Smoke is so bad, if you're outside, it hurts to breathe," Estes Park visitor Missi Weide said on Facebook.
Randalee Trowbridge said on Facebook that she lives south of Loveland and could smell the smoke there.
More than 700 people living near Estes Park were ordered to evacuate Saturday morning because of the growth of the fire.
The Larimer County Sheriff's Office said the evacuation areas include:
- Highway 66 and all adjacent streets including the YMCA
- High Drive and all adjacent streets
- Mary's Lake Road up to Moraine Avenue to Mary's Lake on the west side
Evacuees were told to meet at Estes Park High School, according to the Larimer County Sheriff's Office.
The Stanley Park fairgrounds are available for large animals.
The fire has been burning since Oct. 9. It has burned 1,515 acres in steep, rugged terrain that includes beetle-killed trees which has limited firefighters' ability to fight the fire from the ground, officials said.