4 major wildfires burning in Colorado, thousands of homes evacuated


Associated Press

Posted on June 11, 2013 at 11:30 PM

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — At least four major wildfires have broken out along the Rocky Mountain front in Colorado.

Hot, gusty weather has been spreading flames quickly. Thick smoke plumes have been billowing from fires near Colorado Springs, in southern Colorado, and in Rocky Mountain National Park to the north.

The El Paso County sheriff says a wildfire in a residential area northeast of Colorado Springs has forced mandatory evacuations of more than 2,500 homes. About eight homes have burned, but the sheriff had no exact number because the fire was moving too quickly. He says firefighters have shifted from evacuation mode to search and rescue mode.

In southern Colorado, the Bureau of Land Management said three structures have been lost in a fire on about 300 acres near the Royal Gorge Bridge. Authorities evacuated Royal Gorge Bridge & Park.

A third wildfire in southern Colorado erupted Tuesday in rural Huerfano County, prompting evacuation orders to about 200 residences northeast of the fire.

A fourth wildfire sparked by lightning Monday in Rocky Mountain National Park has grown to an estimated 300 to 400 acres, but no structures are threatened.

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306-a-11-(Sheriff Terry Maketa (mah-KEE'-tah), El Paso County, at news conference)-"another 383 voluntary"-Sheriff Terry Maketa says that thousands of homes have been ordered evacuated because of the fire. (11 Jun 2013)

<<CUT *306 (06/11/13)>> 00:11 "another 383 voluntary"

305-a-09-(Sheriff Terry Maketa (mah-KEE'-tah), El Paso County, at news conference)-"our rescue efforts"-Sheriff Terry Maketa says some people who refused the evacuation order are now calling his office for help. ((watch for dating)) (11 Jun 2013)

<<CUT *305 (06/11/13)>> 00:09 "our rescue efforts"

307-a-13-(Sheriff Terry Maketa (mah-KEE'-tah), El Paso County, at news conference)-"and traveling through"-Sheriff Terry Maketa says fire teams have not yet been able to catch up with the fire which is being pushed along by the gusty winds. (11 Jun 2013)

<<CUT *307 (06/11/13)>> 00:13 "and traveling through"

308-a-08-(Sheriff Terry Maketa (mah-KEE'-tah), El Paso County, at news conference)-"also national resources"-Sheriff Terry Maketa says he's asked the state and federal governments to send in help. (11 Jun 2013)

<<CUT *308 (06/11/13)>> 00:08 "also national resources"

APPHOTO COCOL107: Dave Dunlap watches from the bed of his truck as a wildfire crosses Black Forest Road near his home Tuesday afternoon, June 11, 2013, in Colorado Springs, Colo. The Black Forest Fire was one of at least three significant wildfires burning in Colorado amid gusty winds and record-breaking hot, dry weather. (AP Photo/The Colorado Springs Gazette, Christian Murdock) MAGS OUT (11 Jun 2013)

<<APPHOTO COCOL107 (06/11/13)>>

APPHOTO NY126: In this cell phone photo provided by Jean-Michel Bertrand, smoke from the Black Forest fire rises north of Colorado Springs, Colo. The wildfire has burned a handful of homes and chased people from thousands of houses, while another fire that led to the evacuation of Royal Gorge Bridge & Park charred three structures. (AP Photo/Jean-Michel Bertrand) MANDATORY CREDIT (11 Jun 2013)

<<APPHOTO NY126 (06/11/13)>>

APPHOTO CODEN102: Large plumes of smoke rise from a wild land fire in the Black Forest northeast of Colorado Springs, Colo. on Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Homes have already burned and the wind is expected to continue through the afternoon. (AP Photo/The Denver Post, Aaron Ontiveroz) (11 Jun 2013)

<<APPHOTO CODEN102 (06/11/13)>>

APPHOTO COPUS101: Visitors and employees leave the Royal Gorge Bridge park as smoke billows skyward Tuesday afternoon, June 11, 2013, from a fire near the gorge in western Fremont County west of Canon City, Colo. The fire burning on an estimated 300 acres south of the Royal Gorge Bridge and the Arkansas River led to the evacuation of the park, the Bureau of Land Management said. (AP Photo/The Pueblo Chieftain, Brian Bowen) (11 Jun 2013)

<<APPHOTO COPUS101 (06/11/13)>>