Colorado wildfire forces nearly 2,000 evacuations

As the sun sets, smoke rises from a 416 Fire burn area west of the Falls creek Ranch subdivision late Wednesday, June 13, 2018, near Durango, Colo. (J

As the sun sets, smoke rises from a 416 Fire burn area west of the Falls creek Ranch subdivision late Wednesday, June 13, 2018, near Durango, Colo. (J

In this Tuesday, June 12, 2018 photo, smoke of a wildfire covers the Buffalo Mountain area, west of Silverthorne and north of Frisco, Colo. A fast-mov

In this Tuesday, June 12, 2018 photo, smoke of a wildfire covers the Buffalo Mountain area, west of Silverthorne and north of Frisco, Colo. A fast-mov

A wildland firefighter works to contain the flames at the Buffalo Fire site Wednesday, June 13, 2018, near Silverthorne, Colo. As of 10:45 am Wednesda

A wildland firefighter works to contain the flames at the Buffalo Fire site Wednesday, June 13, 2018, near Silverthorne, Colo. As of 10:45 am Wednesda

Smoke from a wildfire can be seen rising from the Medicine Bow National Forest from Highway 230 near Woods Landing, Wyo., Wednesday, June 13, 2018. Se

Smoke from a wildfire can be seen rising from the Medicine Bow National Forest from Highway 230 near Woods Landing, Wyo., Wednesday, June 13, 2018. Se

Smoke from a wildfire can be seen rising from the Medicine Bow National Forest from Highway 230 near Woods Landing, Wyo., Wednesday, June 13, 2018. Se

Smoke from a wildfire can be seen rising from the Medicine Bow National Forest from Highway 230 near Woods Landing, Wyo., Wednesday, June 13, 2018. Se

Smoke rises from the 416 Fire behind the U.S. Highway 550 road block at Cometti Lane on Wednesday, June 13, 2018, near Durango, Colo. (Jerry McBride/T

Smoke rises from the 416 Fire behind the U.S. Highway 550 road block at Cometti Lane on Wednesday, June 13, 2018, near Durango, Colo. (Jerry McBride/T

DENVER (AP) — National Forest Service officials told residents of 163 more homes near the fire in the southwestern Colorado to be ready to leave Thursday — as well as residents who had been allowed to return to 180 homes on Wednesday.

Dry thunderstorms and gusty winds have expanded a San Juan National Forest wildfire that has forced evacuations of more than 1,900 homes.

The fire 13 miles (43 kilometers) north of Durango has blackened more than 45 square miles (116 square kilometers) and forced officials to close the San Juan National Forest in the Four Corners Region.

The Four Corners region where Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah meet is in the middle of a large swath of exceptional drought, the worst category of drought.