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Fire near Grand Junction becomes largest in Colorado history

August 29, 2020 GMT

DENVER (AP) — The Denver Post has reported that a wildfire that grew to about 140,000 acres near Grand Junction on Thursday became the largest fire in state history, surpassing the Hayman fire near Denver in 2002.

Authorities say the fire is still burning mostly on U.S. Bureau of Land Management lands, forcing evacuations, road closures and power outages and burning few structures in the area.

More than 900 firefighters have continued battling the fire since it first ignited by a lightning strike July 31, about 18 miles north of Grand Junction.

It is has not been determined how much the fire will cost.

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The fire in 2002 destroyed 132 homes and 466 outbuildings northwest of Colorado Springs as it burned through numerous trees. It was the second most costly fire in terms of insured losses, the Post reported.

The fire was started by Terry Lynn Barton, who was convicted in 2003 if starting the fire. She served a federal prison sentence and was released in 2008. She was also ordered to pay $14 million in restitution.

The U.S. Forest Service said that fire costed about $238 million, including at least $39.1 million for rehabilitation. Five firefighters died.