Thousands flee Colorado wildfires as dozens of homes razed
Prison housing almost 1,000 inmates also evacuated
Shad Dohl, of Colorado Springs watches as smoke rises into the air from the Black Forest Fire near Colorado Springs, Colorado yesterday. Photograph: Chris Schneider/Getty Images
Smoke billows near a home from the Black Forest Fire north of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Photograph: Chris Schneider/Getty Images
An airplane drops flame retardant over the Black Forest Fire north of Colorado Springs, Colorado, yesterday. The fire has reportedly burned 80 to 100 homes and has charred at least 8,000 acres. Photograph: Chris Schneider/Getty Images
A wildfire rages in th Black Forest north of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Photograph: Rick Wilking/Reuters
Thousands of residents have fled and dozens of homes have been destroyed by three Colorado wildfires fuelled by hot temperatures, gusty winds and thick, bone-dry forests.
A medium-security prison housing almost 1,000 inmates was also evacuated.
Sheriff’s officials said 92 homes were destroyed by a fire northeast of Colorado Springs, with five more homes partially damaged.
Crews were so busy battling wildfires across the West that the US Forest Service announced it was mobilising two Defence Department cargo planes to drop slurry on the blazes.
Such action cannot be taken unless all of the Forest Service’s contracted tankers are already in use.