DENVER – Air tankers took to the sky Tuesday to help ground crews battling three wildfires that charred more than 1,300 acres in western Colorado and forced the evacuation of 30 homes west of Glenwood Springs.
At least 120 firefighters, six aircraft and six fire engines were on the scene of the 350-acre blaze outside Glenwood Springs, about 160 miles west of Denver, where flames were within a half-mile of a cluster of houses north of town.
In addition to the 30 homes under evacuation orders, residents of 400 other homes had been advised to leave, Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman Mel Lloyd said. She did not know whether any had done so.
No injuries or property damage were reported.
A shelter was opened in a school in neighboring New Castle.
U.S. Bureau of Land Management spokesman David Boyd said crews were waiting to see if the wind would pick up Tuesday. Wind in the area typically blows west in the morning, which would drive the flames away from the homes, he said.
"They're optimistic they'll be able to catch it," Boyd said of the blaze.
Three heavy air tankers, a single-engine plane and a helicopter dumped water and fire retardant on the flames Monday. At least 50 firefighters from departments throughout the area battled the blaze.
Containment of the fire, one of several likely started by lightning on Sunday, was listed at zero percent.
One, about 155 miles west of Denver near Parachute, had been held to just 4 acres but was a concern because it was just 200 yards from homes and natural gas wells.
A fire near the town of Cameo, 180 miles west of Denver, had doubled since Monday to more than 1,000 acres, Lloyd said. However, fire crews gave higher priority to the fire near Glenwood Springs because it threatened homes, she said. It was just 5 percent contained.
The region is dry and temperatures have been in the upper 80s.
"As far as fire danger right now, we're still expecting an average season, but the western part of the state is very dry," said Larry Helmerick of the interagency Rocky Mountain Coordination Center.