CASTLE ROCK, Colo. – Authorities lifted evacuation orders Thursday after rain and sleet dampened two wildfires that had threatened hundreds of Colorado homes and forced thousands to flee.
"We have a much better handle on the fire. There's very little concern that it's going to spread," said Andy Lyon, a fire information officer on a 1,200-acre blaze that had threatened 300 to 400 homes in the suburbs south of Denver.
The two blazes erupted Wednesday and were believed to have been started by damaged power lines.
The second, in the foothills northwest of Boulder (search), raced across 4,000 acres and threatened the historic mining village of Jamestown before the sleet began Thursday morning. Residents of about 300 homes in the area had been ordered to evacuate.
Boulder County Sgt. Dan Barber (search) said early Thursday that flames were no longer visible. Temperatures had dropped 20 to 40 degrees overnight, and winds that at one point had whipped up 100-foot flames had calmed.
Outside Jamestown, firefighters set up a defensive line about five miles from the village while others stood watch over houses in the foothills. Eight or nine homes were destroyed by the blaze.
South of Denver, five subdivisions had been ordered evacuated, creating chaos as drivers moved their SUVs and cars onto a handful of streets leading out. No homes burned there, authorities said.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (search) approved a request from Gov. Bill Owens for federal resources to fight the fires.