Thu, Jul 05, 2018 - Page 7 News List

Fire destroys more than 100 Colorado homes

AP, DENVER, Colorado

A firefighter lights backfires to help contain a fire near Lake Berryessa in Yolo County, California, on Tuesday.

Photo: AP

A growing wildfire destroyed more than 100 homes in the Colorado mountains, while other blazes across the parched US west kept hundreds of other homes under evacuation orders on Tuesday and derailed holiday plans.

Authorities announced late on Monday that a fire near Fort Garland, about 330km southwest of Denver, had destroyed 104 homes in a mountain housing development started by multimillionaire publisher Malcolm Forbes in the 1970s.

The damage toll could rise because the burn area is still being surveyed.

Tamara Estes’ family cabin, which her parents built in 1963 using wood and rocks from the land, was among the homes destroyed.

“I think it’s sinking in more now, but we’re just crying,” she said. “My grandmother’s antique dining table and her hutch are gone.”

“It was a sacred place to us,” she added.

Andy and Robyn Kuehler watched flames approach their cabin via surveillance video from their primary home in Nebraska.

“We just got confirmation last night that the house was completely gone. It’s ... a very sickening feeling watching the fire coming towards the house,” they said in an e-mail.

The blaze, named the Spring Fire, is one of six large wildfires burning in Colorado and is the largest at 318km2 — about five times the size of Manhattan.

While investigators believe it was started by a spark from a fire pit, other fires, like one that began burning in wilderness near Fairplay, were started by lightning.

Nearly 60 large, active blazes are burning across the west of the country, including nine in New Mexico and six each in Utah and California, the National Interagency Fire Center said.

In Utah, authorities have evacuated 200 to 300 homes because of a growing wildfire near a popular fishing reservoir southeast of Salt Lake City, amid hot temperatures and high winds.

Several structures have been lost since the fire started on Sunday, but it is unclear how many, said Jason Curry of the Utah Division of Forest, Fire and State Lands.

Meanwhile, a wind-fueled wildfire in Northern California that continues to send a thick layer of smoke and ash south of San Francisco was threatening more than 900 buildings.

The massive blaze was choking skies with ash and smoke, prompting some officials to cancel July 4 fireworks shows and urge people to stay indoors to protect themselves from the unhealthy air.

At least 2,500 people have been told to evacuate as the fire continues to spread, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Anthony Brown said.

The blaze, which started Saturday and is surging through rugged terrain northwest of Sacramento, has grown to 294km2 amid hot and dry weather expected throughout the day and was 15 percent contained, Brown said.

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