UPDATE: Calm weather helps crews battling fire in N. Colo.

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) -- Calmer weather is expected to help crews fighting a wildfire that has scorched between 750 and 1,000 acres west of Fort Collins.

Nick Christensen, spokesman for the Larimer County Sheriff's Department, says strong winds that caused havoc Friday had died down by Saturday morning, and many of the residents who were forced to leave the area were allowed to return home. No injuries have been reported and no structures have been damaged.

Christensen says 579 phone lines received automated calls ordering evacuations, but he did not have an exact count on how many people were forced from their homes.

The fire, which is 5 percent contained, is burning west of Horsetooth Reservoir, near the scene of a large wildfire last summer that burned 259 homes and killed one person. Authorities say the latest fire was started accidentally.

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FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) -- The wildfire season that Coloradans have been nervously awaiting has arrived in a wind-whipped frenzy in the foothills near Fort Collins.

The year's first major along the populous Front Range was spotted Friday morning and raced across 750 to 1,000 acres by Friday night. More than 50 homes were threatened, and authorities issued hundreds of evacuation orders.

The fire was 5 percent contained Friday night. Crews are hoping for calmer weather Saturday.

Firefighters saved two homes and a state park visitors' center. They said no homes had been destroyed.

The cause was under investigation.

The Larimer County Sheriff's Department says 860 phone lines got automated calls ordering evacuations. Authorities didn't know the exact number of homes.

Residents of a neighborhood north of the fire were allowed to return Friday night.


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