By Jeff Todd

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Ty Cecil was at work in Vail when a neighbor called and asked if he wanted them to grab his dog. That was the first time he heard about the fire just a few hundred yards from his house on Buffalo Mountain.

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“It looked like Southwest Airlines was dropping the slurry right down on top of my house — which was nice to see,” Cecil said.

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He wasn’t able to make it home before the mandatory evacuation was put in place.

“All the windows were open, back door was open for the dog. I have a feeling everything is going to be a little smoky. If I can get back in,” he said.

Nearly 1,400 homes are in the mandatory evacuation, and even more in Wildernest and Mesa Cortina are under pre-evacuation notice.

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“I have four Tupperware things of pictures,” said Sue Brown whose home is far from the flames, but in the pre-evacuation area. “We have things ready so it’s just a matter of grabbing it. It’s funny, we realized how much is not important.”

Brown said when friends around Summit County saw and heard of the fire they began calling to help.

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“Lots of people were texting, saying ‘Do I need to get cats? Do I need to get dogs?’ So there’s a good network of people. It’s a good community for that,” she said.

Neither Brown nor Cecil knew when they would be allowed back home.

PHOTO GALLERY: Buffalo Fire

The flames were likely just a few hundred feet away from Cecil’s home at one point Tuesday afternoon. He’s both optimistic and realistic about what he may eventually go back to.

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“The fire breaks that are pre-existing up there are doing their job, and that was just great foresight,” he said. “There’s so much deadfall up there, it doesn’t take but a big gust of wind to fire something up again.”

Wildfire Resources

– Visit CBSDenver.com’s Living With Wildfire section.

Wildfire Photo Galleries

– See images from the most destructive wildfires (Black Forest, Waldo Canyon, High Park and Fourmile), the deadliest (Storm King) and largest wildfire (Hayman) in Colorado history.

Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.

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