LA VETA, Colo. – Two wind-whipped wildfires destroyed at least five houses in southern Colorado and forced the evacuation of several hundred residents on Sunday, authorities said. No injuries were reported.
The fires burned over 5,400 acres in Huerfano and Las Animas counties, not far from the New Mexico line. Firefighters were investigating the extent of the damage, said Ron Julian of the Spanish Peaks Fire Department.
Pam Martinez of the Huerfano County Sheriff's office said 215 homes were evacuated in Las Animas County. She couldn't give a number for Huerfano. Deputies had to go door-to-door because they have no reverse 911-system.
She said winds were gusting up to 50 mph, preventing authorities from using airplanes to drop slurry on the fires. Two, 20-men federal crews were on their way to the fires from a training event in northeastern Colorado.
One of the two fires was a controlled burn earlier in the week that started again despite efforts to keep it down.
In Oklahoma, high winds and unseasonably, warm temperatures created prime conditions for more grass fires.
Firefighters were in southern Oklahoma to help tame a wildfire that had already charred about 900 acres near Coalgate on Saturday, said Richard Reuse, a spokesman for a state command center.
"The big problem today is going to be an expected wind shift coming in from the north," he said Sunday. "If firefighters aren't aware of the wind shift while they're putting out a fire, it could get really dangerous for them."