Colorado wildfires destroy at least 181 homes|
Sun Jun 17, 2012
Crews in northern Colorado braced for powerful fire-fanning winds as they battle a blaze that has scorched about 85 square miles of mountainous forest land and destroyed at least 181 homes, the most in state history.
The destructiveness of the High Park Fire burning 15 miles west of Fort Collins surpassed the Fourmile Canyon wildfire, which destroyed 169 homes west of Boulder in September 2010.
More than 1,630 personnel worked on the fire Saturday, officials said in a late-night news release. That was an increase of more than 100 firefighters from a day earlier.
The lightning-caused blaze, which is believed to have killed a 62-year-old woman whose body was found in her cabin, was 45 percent contained, Cpl. Julie Berney of the Larimer County sheriff’s office said Sunday. The fire’s incident commander said full containment could be two to four weeks away.
Crews faced difficult conditions Sunday with wind gusts expected to hit 50 mph along ridge tops and in Poudre Canyon and temperatures in the 90-degree range.
The fire was reported June 9 and has since raced through large swaths of private and U.S. Forest Service land. NY Daily News
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who oversees the Forest Service, met with fire managers in Fort Collins on Saturday and said “fighting this fire is going to require us to be aggressive, persistent and also patient. LA Times
In New Mexico, fire has destroyed 242 homes and commercial structures. It had burned 59 square miles and was 60 percent contained as of Saturday night. AP
In Arizona, a blaze in the Tonto National Forest has doubled in size to 3,100 acres. Officials said Saturday night that the fire was 15 percent contained and firefighters continued to battle unseasonably dry fuels, high temperatures and low humidity. Reuters