Firefighters Battling Wildfires Struggle In Record Heat

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press
Courtesy: Colorado National Guard

Courtesy: Colorado National Guard

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UPDATE: Tuesday, June 26, 2012

It's another hot, difficult day for crews battling wildfires in Colorado.

Forecasters say temperatures could top 100 degrees again, while afternoon storms could bring lightning and the danger of more fires.

Officials now say more than 257 homes have been destroyed by the High Park fire, burning west of Fort Collins. Lightning started the fire on June 9. Since then, it's scorched 136 square miles. Fire officials say they have the blaze about 55 percent contained and are optimistic they can hold and extend the fire lines. Hundreds of evacuated residents are still waiting to return home.

Meanwhile, firefighters are battling to keep the Waldo Canyon fire from reaching the Air Force Academy and residential areas north of Colorado Springs. It's burned about 8 square miles and is only 5 percent contained. But so far, it's only destroyed a shed. About 5,000 people remain evacuated from their homes.

At least four other wildfires are burning in Colorado.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Searing, record-setting heat in the interior West is making it harder for firefighters to battle wildfires in Colorado, Utah and other Rocky Mountain states.

Nearly a week of 100-plus degree days and low humidity in Colorado is sapping moisture from timber and grass, creating a devastating formula for volatile wildfires across the state.

Much of Colorado, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming are under a red flag warning, meaning conditions are hot, dry and ripe for fires. And the scorching heat in the region doesn't appear to be letting up soon.

In northern Colorado, a fire has scorched more than 130 square miles and is just 55 percent contained. An Alaska wildfire between Mount McKinley and town of Anderson grew to more than 30 square miles Monday. But firefighters have a nearly 70-square-mile fire near Ruidoso, N.M., 90 percent contained.

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