One person has been killed as a raging Colorado wildfire has burned more than 4.5 square miles and destroyed up to 25 buildings in the mountains southwest of Denver.
The victim’s body was discovered in a home that had been damaged by fire.
(UPDATE: a second person’s body has now been found.)
The fast-moving wildfire was first reported at about mid-day yesterday and quickly spread thank to dry, windy weather.
Authorities have now ordered the residents of more than 900 homes to evacuate.
“We’re in a defensive mode, structure protection only,” said Jefferson County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Jacki Kelley. “We’re not really fighting the fire right now.”
Crews from neighboring Arizona have been called in to help battle the blaze. Approximately 450 firefighters are expected on the scene.
There were no additional reports of injuries, but a sheriff’s deputy got trapped in his car after he accidentally steered himself into a ditch in the thick smoke. He quickly radioed for assistance.
Most of Colorado has been under a red-flag warning for high fire danger thanks to single-digit humidity values, winds of 40 to 50 mph, and a lack of snowfall, according to the National Weather Service.
The high winds have also caused sporadic delays at Denver International Airport.
For the past week, air tankers had been ready in anticipation of extreme wildfire hazards in the state, but the high winds have left the fleet grounded, said Steve Segin, spokesman for the Rocky Mountain Coordination Center.
“There is really not much that can be done from the air until the winds subside,” Segin said.
- 1 person found dead in Colorado wildfire (newsok.com)
- JeffCo Wildfire: 1 Dead, 3,000 Acres Scorched, 900 Homes Evacuated (huffingtonpost.com)
- Colorado Wildfire 2012: 1 Person Found Dead, 900 Homes Evacuated, 3000 Acres Burned [Video] (inquisitr.com)