Hundreds Flee Raging Wildfires in Colo, Ariz.
Fire officials have ordered mandatory evacuations for residents of 65 homes near a wildfire burning near a scenic canyon in northern Colorado.
A wildfire burns through trees near Fort Collins, Colo., on Thursday. The fire has grown from 1.5 square miles to 8 square miles in the last day as erratic wind gusts of up to 50 mph moved into the area.
The area evacuated Thursday is where residents had previously been warned to be ready to leave at a moment’s notice, said fire information officer Kristy Wumkes.
The fire has grown from 1,000 acres to 5,000 acres in the last day as erratic wind gusts of up to 50 mph moved into the area fueled by thunderstorms that didn’t produce rain. Another so-called dry thunderstorm is moving in Thursday.
In Arizona, a wildfire has forced the evacuation of more than 300 people.
Steep, rocky terrain and lack of roads in Colorado are hampering firefighting efforts there. The terrain is dotted with dry ponderosa pine trees, grass and shrubs. The fire is burning north of the Cache La Poudre River that runs through Poudre Canyon.
The area has seen little rain in recent weeks as drought conditions have left Colorado’s snowpack at 11 percent of its 30 year average.