Weather conditions in Colorado could likely drive a wildfire burning in a tiny Colorado town that has forced the evacuation of 140 homes, while crews in New Mexico are gaining more ground over a blaze in the southern part of the state. Here’s a look at fires in the U.S. West:
Stronger winds and lower humidity are expected to drive a wildfire Saturday that has chased residents from 140 homes in a tiny Colorado town this week.
The U.S. Forest Service says a few rain showers are expected this weekend, but they won’t significantly reduce the fire danger.
A number of the evacuated homes in Coaldale, about 150 miles southwest of Denver, are near where firefighters are working Saturday to contain the 25-square-mile blaze. Residents have been told it could be a week or two before they can return.
People began evacuating Sunday after the fire flared up from a lightning strike several days earlier in the rugged Sangre de Cristo Wilderness.
Crews have contained other fires in the state, including one that destroyed eight homes in the mountains near Boulder. All evacuees there have been allowed to return.
Crews have gained more control of a southern New Mexico wildfire that has destroyed more than 40 homes.
Fire officials said Saturday that the fire in the mountain village of Timberon is about 40 percent contained.
The blaze has charred nearly 270 acres since it started Wednesday.
Gov. Susana Martinez declared a state of emergency Friday to free up resources to fight the fire.
Fire spokeswoman Linda Wallace says the blaze has destroyed 70 structures, including 44 dwellings, and numerous vehicles.
Residents who live within the fire perimeter are being allowed to retrieve items from their homes under escort.
Wallace says crews are reinforcing lines around the fire’s perimeter, taking down hazardous trees and putting out hot spots.
The cause remains under investigation.