Residents Flee 20,000-Acre Colorado Wildfire

Smoke-eaters also battling fires in Wyoming, New Mexico
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 11, 2012 2:32 AM CDT
Residents Flee 20,000-Acre Colorado Wildfire
A horse grazes in a pasture along Colorado County Road 80C in Larimer County, Colo., as smoke billows from a wildfire northwest of Fort Collins.   (AP Photo/Laramie Daily Boomerang, Andy Carpenean)

Some 2,000 families are fleeing the 20,000-acre High Park wildfire in northern Colorado. “The burning pattern could potentially cut off exit routes for residents in this area and they should leave now,” authorities reiterated on a website. Some 18 buildings have already been damaged or destroyed by the fast-moving, hard-to-control fire that authorities believe was sparked by lightning. The fire smell drifted into Denver, and smoke has spread as far as central Nebraska and into Kansas and Texas, reports the Los Angeles Times.

A wolf sanctuary evacuated 11 wolves, with another 19 left behind, though underground bunkers provide some safety in the event of fire. Resources are being stretched as firefighters also battle a 8,500-acre blaze in Wyoming, and a 40-square-mile fire in southern New Mexico near the mountain community of Ruidoso, reports AP. (Read more Colorado stories.)

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