Homes burned near Colo. Springs could approach 100

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UPDATE 10:02 a.m.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) -- The number of houses destroyed by a wildfire near Colorado Springs could grow to around 100, and the sheriff says unpredictable winds still make it a dangerous blaze.

Authorities initially estimated that between 40 and 60 houses were destroyed, but they are still surveying the damage. El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa said Wednesday he believes around 80 have been lost and he wouldn't be surprised if the figure reaches or tops 100.

Maketa says there are no reports of anyone missing in the fire. However, he says some people stayed behind and he fears some may have died.

Around 7,000 people over 47 square miles have been evacuated by the Black Forest Fire, which started Tuesday.

ORIGINAL STORY

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) -- Crews are fighting at least four major wildfires in Colorado, including one that has burned homes.

El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa says a fire northeast of Colorado Springs led to the evacuation of hundreds of homes Tuesday. Video from a helicopter showed flames engulfing several large homes.

To the south, the Bureau of Land Management says three structures have been lost in a fire that prompted evacuations, including that of the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park.

A wildfire in southern Colorado in rural Huerfano County has prompted evacuation orders to about 200 homes.

A lightning-sparked wildfire that started Monday in Rocky Mountain National Park also is burning.

PRISON EVACUATION

A wildfire has forced the evacuation of more than 900 prisoners at a state prison southwest of Colorado Springs.

Department of Corrections spokeswoman Adrienne Jacobson said Wednesday the prisoners from the Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility were taken to other prisons around the Front Range overnight.

Jacobson says the prisoners were evacuated by bus, including 24 from an infirmary who were taken to a Denver facility to protect them from smoke.

Jacobson says the evacuation was a precaution because of the danger from one of four wildfires raging south of Denver. She says the fire has not reached the prison.



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