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Colorado fire destroys 92 homes, thousands flee

By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com   |   June 13, 2013 at 10:43 AM   |   Comments

June 13 (UPI) -- The Black Forest fire, one of three wildfires tearing through Colorado, has burned thousands of acres and forced the evacuation of thousands of people.

Firefighters braced for "extreme fire behavior" Thursday and expanded the evacuation zone throughout El Paso and Elbert Counties due to gusty winds, low humidity and plenty of dry trees primed to burn.

At least 92 homes had been destroyed and 5 more damaged by the wildfire in three days, burning through 11,000 to 12,000 acres northeast of Colorado Springs.

Sheriffs went door-to-door Wednesday night in the expanded evacuation area, urging residents to heed the order.

South of Denver, the Royal Gorge blaze continued to threaten a historic bridge and forced the evacuation of 900 inmates from a correctional facility.

At least 20 buildings had been destroyed and 3,000 acres burned. Firefighters said the fire was 20 percent contained Wednesday evening.

A third fire, in the Rocky Mountain National Park southwest of Boulder, spread to about 600 acres and approached an area where the forest was ravaged by beetle kill and is highly susceptible to burning. The Big Meadows fire was zero percent contained Thursday.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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