National forests and parks in Arizona and New Mexico have already been shut down as precautions.
Over 2,800 square miles of public land in southwestern Colorado will be closed to campers, hikers and bikers because of the fire danger.
Fire managers say they expect the fire to reach the evacuees' homes within 12 to 36 hours.
Take a moment to picture Colorado in your imagination. You’re probably seeing mountain vistas with postcard-perfect evergreen forests.
More than 400 firefighters supported by six helicopters and two air tankers are fighting the fire.
"It's not gonna be one of those fires where they can just go out and we hammer it and it's out in two or three days,” official says.
Wildfires can make creeks and rivers boiling hot and clogged with debris, turning habitats fatal for aquatic species.
Colorado is starting to stir awareness of the state's forthcoming wildfire season, which traditionally begins in May.
Forest Service officials anticipate that two-thirds of the agency's entire budget will go to firefighting by 2025.