At least five people were unaccounted for early Friday morning as Colorado grappled with one of thein the state's history. There was concern that the blaze could merge with an even larger fire burning a short distance away.
The East Troublesome Fire has already burned more than 200 square miles in about 24 hours in the northern Colorado mountains, moving to within 10 miles of an. Officials have struggled to contain both fires and the fear is, if they combine, it will be even harder to tackle.
"We lived in our house for 11 months, it took three years to build, and it's gone," Colorado resident Matthew Reed told CBS News' Omar Villafranca. Reed narrowly escaped, but his newly-built home in Grand Lake was destroyed.
Dry conditions and strong winds strengthened the blaze in Grand County, and the firefighter in charge of the battle against it called its rapid spread unheard of in the region.
Ranchers Kelly Carnan and Vince Baker in Grandby said they were worried they might have to leave their 300 livestock behind as the fire approached their home. Carnan said the family's ranch was "everything" to them.
"We've been here over 100 years, so it's pretty much everything we got, right here," Baker added. "I'm pretty much planning on being here until the flames are pushing me out of the driveway, if that's what it comes to."
Police deputies spent Thursday sprinting house to house to warn people to get out, but the dangerous conditions also prevented them from surveying the damage.
Massive plumes of smoke can be seen rising thousands of feet in the air as the blaze becomes the second largest wildfire on record in Colorado.
Grand County Sheriff Brett Schroetlin called the situation "terrifying," and said firefighters would have to replace deputies as the situation worsened.
"We have to allow these firefighters to get in there. There is so much smoke and active fire in that area right now, I can't put deputies in there," he said.
Thehas designated all of Colorado as "in drought" for the first time in eight years. While October wildfires of this scale remain rare in the state, the conditions likely added to the fire's severity.
Officials were hoping snow forecasted for Sunday might bring some relief.