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The Latest: Colorado wildfire prompts evacuation orders

October 2, 2019

SALIDA, Colo. (AP) — The Latest on a central Colorado wildfire (all times local):

4:10 p.m.

Fire crews backed by water-dropping helicopters and an air tanker are working to contain the spread of a wildfire in central Colorado that’s prompted evacuation orders for about 130 homes.

Chaffee County Sheriff John Spezze said Wednesday’s evacuation orders are a precaution as the fire burns on national forest land about 9 miles (15 kilometers) south of Salida.

He says some of the homes are vacant vacation homes and that no structures have been damaged.

Officials say crews are using bulldozers, three helicopters and an air tanker to stem a wind-driven advance of the northern front of the fire.

Spezze says winds shifted on Wednesday, slowing the advance and pushing the fire into unpopulated areas to the east.

Lightning started the fire on Sept. 8 in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness Area. It has been allowed to burn trees killed by beetles and has grown to nearly 6 square miles (15 square kilometers). The fire has been 5% contained.

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9:20 a.m.

High winds have spread a lightning-caused wildfire in central Colorado that’s prompted evacuation orders for several neighborhoods.

Chaffee County sheriff’s and fire officials are alerting residents in areas south of Salida (Sah-LIE-dah) Wednesday to leave their homes as the fire burned on national forest land about 9 miles (15 kilometers) south of town.

The fire started Sept. 8 in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness Area. It has been allowed to burn trees killed by beetles and has grown to nearly 6 square miles (15 square kilometers). The fire has been 5% contained.

Officials say winds gusting to 35 mph were expected Wednesday.

Fire managers say 241 ground crew members are at the scene and planned to defend any threatened structures.

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