ARVADA, Colo. – Residents chased from about 130 homes by a wind-blown wildfire were allowed to return Wednesday, and highways were reopened after the smoke thinned and fallen power lines were cleared.
The blaze had spread across more than 2,700 acres outside the Denver suburbs by Wednesday morning. No homes burned and there were no immediate reports of injuries, though at least one building was destroyed, Jefferson County sheriff's spokesman Jim Shires said at midmorning.
Firefighters had the blaze about 75 percent contained by midmorning, Shires said.
It was the state's third major wildfire in four days, unusual for winter.
Drought conditions and gusty wind have contributed to wildfires over the past few weeks in parts of Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Colorado and New Mexico.
The Arvada wildfire, pushed by wind gusting up to 60 mph, was burning through grassland and trees near the former Rocky Flats nuclear weapons site. Sheriff's spokeswoman Jacki Kelley said she didn't think any of the Rocky Flats site was burned. The cause of the fire had not been determined.
The wind was expected to die down during the day but remain relatively strong at 15 to 30 mph, with gusts up to 45 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
Gov. Bill Owens banned open fires on all state-owned land below 8,000 feet on Monday after a weekend fire in southern Colorado burned five homes and about 4,500 acres in Huerfano and Las Animas counties near the New Mexico state line.
The last residents evacuated from that area were allowed to go home late Tuesday and the blaze was 40 percent contained.