As crews continued to battle the wildfires in Colorado, the state's tourism office launched a webpage
for tourism-related fire updates. The webpage also provides updates on attractions and destinations in close proximity to the fires.
"We do not know to what extent our summer tourism season will be impacted by the fires, but we want to create the best vacation experience possible for those planning trips to Colorado," said Al White, director of the Colorado Tourism Office. "We're supporting the destinations affected by the fires with this statewide resource for updates."
Tourism is a $10 billion industry in Colorado, a state that welcomed 59.7 million visitors in 2011.
Somewhat cooler weather and calmer winds helped firefighters in Colorado Springs on Thursday as they battled to contain the Waldo Canyon fire, which has now consumed more than 18,500 acres.
The Colorado Division of Emergency Management reported that the fires had torched more than 181,000 acres statewide as of June 27. (Click on the image, left, to view a map of current wildfires around the country
The Colorado Springs airport has been open throughout the crisis. Vacant hotel rooms in the city appear to be in short supply, although a spokesman at the Best Value Inn & Suites said that "rooms open up quickly when residents are told they can return to their neighborhoods."
Some tourists have ended up in emergency shelters set up by the Red Cross in high school gymnasiums.
Tourist attractions near Colorado Springs that still remained closed as of Thursday include Pike's Peak, the Pike's Peak Cog Railway, Garden of the Gods and Cave of the Winds. The 90th annual Pike's Peak International Hill Climb, set for July 8, has been postponed.
Elsewhere, one of several fires in Utah prompted the closure of a canyon area known as the Kolob section in Zion National Park. Fire crews managed to save a ranch once owned by country music singer Willie Nelson, although a sign bearing the initials WN at the ranch entrance got charred, according to a spokesman.
The Utah Office of Tourism launched an information site
to keep travelers and residents updated on fire locations.
Wyoming banned overnight camping, campfires and use of charcoal grills on all state lands.
Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead declared a state of emergency in 23 of the state's 24 counties in order to obtain federal funding to help combat drought conditions that have sparked numerous wildfires, including several in Bridger-Teton National Forest in the western part of the state. Follow Gay Nagle Myers on Twitter @gnmtravelweekly.