Thousands flee Colorado wildfires as dozens of homes razed

Prison housing almost 1,000 inmates also evacuated


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.

Wildfires also were burning in New Mexico, Oregon and California, where a smokejumper was killed fighting one of dozens of lightning-sparked fires.

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.


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