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Wildfires Blaze across Colorado, Lead to Evacuation of Homes and a Prison
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Four major wildfires are burning a path of destruction through the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, destroying buildings and leading to the evacuation of hundreds of people from their homes and even a state prison. Fortunately, no injuries have yet been reported.

The fires, which began earlier this week, were caused by unknown factors but aggravated by seasonal weather conditions for the area. These conditions include hot weather, low humidity, water-deprived foliage, and strong, warm winds that can carry the flames from one location to the next. As of Wednesday, authorities have said that they expect the strong winds to worsen, and attempts to control the wild fires have so far proven unsuccessful.

  
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One of the wildfires, currently moving through a heavily wooded area north of Colorado Springs and known as the Black Forest Fire, has led to the evacuation of more than 2,500 homes in a nearby residential area. Current estimates indicate that more than 80 homes could be damaged or destroyed.

“Right now, the firefighters are more focused on fighting fires, drawing lines,” El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa told the Associated Press. “And law enforcement, to be very honest, is scrambling to get people out of there as well as do searches.” Maketa said that many elderly residents have difficulty evacuating their homes, and that he and his department are currently working to assist those who are unable to leave.

On Wednesday, it became known that Colorado authorities are also evacuating a state prison in the same area. Alison Morgan, the spokesperson for the prison, told CNN that the fire has not yet reached the prison, but that inmates are being relocated as a precautionary measure. The majority of those held at the facility are there because they require medical treatment, and the relocation process began Tuesday night and finished at 9 am this morning.

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Four helicopters have been lent to the state of Colorado for use in putting out the wildfires, and a fifth is on standby for search and rescue. On Wednesday, the National Guard stepped in to relieve Colorado firefighters who have been working nonstop since Monday.

Other fires throughout central Colorado continue to spread and cause damage. The Royal Gorge Fire currently encompasses more than 3,800 acres, and has destroyed six structures. Other, simultaneous wildfires in in Colorado have led to the evacuation of an additional 200 homes.



Image Credit: Helen H. Richardson / The Denver Post via Getty Images



 

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