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Fire flares in Colorado as most evacuations are lifted in Utah

June 23, 2012|By Stephanie Chavez
  • Smoke billows from a wildfire west of Colorado Springs, Colo.
Smoke billows from a wildfire west of Colorado Springs, Colo. (Btyan Oller / Associated…)

Evacuation orders were lifted Saturday night for about 2,300 Utah wildfire evacuees after officials determined the blaze no longer posed a threat.

The decision came after the fire had burned within a quarter-mile of some homes in Saratoga Springs and Eagle Mountain, about 40 miles south of Salt Lake City, Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman Teresa Rigby said. No homes have burned.

“The fire itself is still active but it no longer is a direct threat to homes,” Rigby told the Associated Press. “Most of the fire is up on the mountain at this time and not near the subdivisions.”

Authorities believe the so-called Dump fire was sparked when a bullet grazed a rock on public land near a landfill popular as an unofficial shooting range.

Meanwhile, fires erupted throughout Colorado on the hottest day of the year, according to the Denver Post. One fire broke out in the town of Estes Park, near the Beaver Meadows entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park; about 20 homes and structures were lost.

Both the High Park fire and a blaze in Colorado Springs flared Saturday.

Hot, dry weather and gusty winds are expected to worsen conditions in Colorado, where firefighters are battling at least eight fires.

"We have a couple of critical fire days ahead," Steve Segin of the Rocky Mountain fire team told the Post.

In Nevada, a wildfire that has scorched more than 11,000 acres of rugged terrain in northeast Nevada near the Utah line is 75% contained. It began as a U.S. Forest Service prescribed burn that escaped June 9.

In New Mexico, heavy rain has helped crews increase containment lines on the 69-square-mile fire near Ruidoso that began June 4. The more than 464-square-mile Whitewater-Baldy blaze, the largest in state history, is 87% contained, the Associated Press reported. It began May 16.


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