Inmates evacuated from prison in path of second Colorado wildfire

June 12, 2013 at 12:25 PM

COLORADO SPRINGS, June 12 (UPI) -- Nearly 900 inmates whose prison may be in the path of a Colorado wildfire have been relocated to facilities elsewhere in the state, officials say.

The Colorado Department of Corrections called the transfers a "pre-emptory and cautionary move," the Canon City Daily Record reported Tuesday.

Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility is located northeast of the Royal Gorge fire in Fremont County. In adjacent El Paso County, the Black Forest fire has damaged or destroyed up to 100 homes near Colorado Springs.

A total of 905 offenders were housed at prison, including 24 in infirmary beds, said Alison Morgan, a Corrections Department public information officer.

The infirmary inmates were transferred Tuesday evening to prisons equipped to care for the "specialized" prisoners, Morgan said.

The remaining 881 inmates were being transferred overnight to Centennial Correctional Faculty east of Canon City.

The Royal Gorge fire has destroyed three houses, KMGH-TV, Denver, reported.

The Black Forest fire could be worsened by gusty winds and high temperatures, forecasters said. Authorities said the fire had spread to 8,800 acres, The (Colorado Springs) Gazette reported.

More than 2,000 homes in a 55-square-mile area had been evacuated, officials said Wednesday. Before dawn, firefighters estimated the leading edge of the fire to be 3,600 feet wide.

Temperatures hit record highs Tuesday in Denver and Colorado Springs while the humidity was about 3 percent to 4 percent.

The Colorado Springs Fire Department said 300 to 400 firefighters were on the scene.

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