Colorado homes evacuated from ongoing Utah wildfires
Published 7:39 am Thursday, June 14, 2018
DENVER (AP) — A fast-moving brush fire destroyed eight homes in the Utah tourist town of Moab, while more than 3,000 people in Colorado and Wyoming fled multiple wildfires scorching the drought-stricken U.S. West on Wednesday.
The blaze in Moab, known for its dramatic red rocks, started in a wooded area Tuesday night and quickly spread to homes over less than a square mile (kilometer), Police Chief Jim Winder said.
He said the early investigation has ruled out natural causes for the blaze that ignited near a creek that is frequently used as a walkway in a largely blue-collar neighborhood.
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In Colorado’s mountains, residents have evacuated more than 1,300 houses in an area known for its ski resorts. Firefighters, with help from aircraft, got a quick jump on the fire near Silverthorne after it was reported Tuesday and have managed to keep it from spreading beyond about 91 acres in heavy timber, including trees killed by pine beetles.
Across the state, Colorado’s largest fire has burned about 43 square miles (111 square kilometers) over nearly two weeks. Residents could go back to about 180 homes no longer threatened at the northern edge of the fire Wednesday, but others remained out of more than 1,900 houses.
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said the rapid response from emergency crews has helped prevent a repeat of devastating wildfires in 2012 and 2013. Hickenlooper said better coordination has cut down on delays, and the state reimburses local departments for initial response costs, in an attempt to control a blaze before it can spread.
“We learned a lot from the disasters, the fires we had in 2012 and 2013,” Hickenlooper told reporters.
Meanwhile, a wildfire in Wyoming’s Medicine Bow National Forest doubled in size over 24 hours, burning about 8 square miles (21 square kilometers). Nearly 400 seasonal and permanent homes have been evacuated because of the fire near the Colorado border.