Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Wildfires rage in rural Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming

An aircraft drops fire retardant on a fire near Durango, Colorado. (Associated Press photo by Jerry Day)

Wildfires in rural New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming have forced thousands of evacuations, and experts say the fires may be going for a while.

The Colorado fire has been raging for at least 12 days and has triggered the evacuation of more than 2,000 homes. It doubled in size from Saturday to Sunday, then grew by another third on Monday to cover 22,000 acres of the southwestern part of the state. It is only 10 percent contained now, Christina Zhao and Reuters report for Newsweek.

The National Weather Service's Bob Oravec said "There's no rain in sight and the winds are going to be 15 mph with higher gusts all day. That's a bad combination," Reuters reports.

"According to the U.S. Forest Service, another conflagration—approximately 400 miles to the north which started over the weekend—has prompted the evacuation of at least six communities in Albany County, Wyoming," Zhao reports.

Firefighters battling the blaze in Mescalero, New Mexico, say the 1,300-acre fire is only 28 percent contained but is no longer spreading, Kate Bieri reports for KVIA-TV. The U.S. Forest Service's Gerry Perry said the fire was started by a person and warns that dry conditions mean the danger of more fires is high. "The probability of ignition if there’s a spark that hits any sort of flammable material is very close to one hundred percent," Perry said.

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