FORT COLLINS, Colo. —
When authorities began allowing some residents back in for brief visits to retrieve valuables, Martina said he planned to stay as long as necessary to collect birth certificates, guns and other important items.
"I'm not a complete idiot. I'm going to leave if it's coming close," he said.
Chicago resident Terry Jones and his family were in a vacation house they own when they saw smoke billowing toward them, and then officers pounded on their door and told them to leave.
Late Friday afternoon, as the sun turned hillsides pink and smoke obscured the reservoir, Jones was asked if he'd rather be back home in Chicago.
"No," he said. "Not even with the fire."
The fire came as much of the state dealt with drought conditions after a relatively dry winter. The snowpack in the mountains was low, leaving farmers wondering how many crops to plant and raising the possibility of lawn-watering restrictions along the Front Range.
Colorado's wildfire season also started in March last year.
"This is a really bad start," said Angela Dietrich, whose home was not in the fire's immediate path but was shrouded by smoke.
Firefighters controlled a second, smaller fire nearby earlier Friday.