Monday, April 23, 2018

National Guard helps patrol Colorado fire damage

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Making steady progress Saturday against the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history, crews kept a wary eye on weather that was getting warmer and drier as National Guard troops were deployed to help local police.

"The weather is making progress in a bad direction. Hotter, drier, with a chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon. Winds will shift from one direction to another," said Incident Cmdr. Rich Harvey.

The 26-square-mile Waldo Canyon fire was 45 percent contained by Saturday afternoon. About 1,200 personnel and six helicopters were fighting the fire.

Two bodies were found in the ruins of one house, one of 346 destroyed in this city 60 miles south of Denver. The victims' names were not released.

More than 150 National Guard soldiers and airmen helped Colorado Springs police staff roadblocks and patrol streets.

About 10,000 people remain evacuated, down from more than 30,000 at the fire's peak.

Among the fires elsewhere in the West:

Utah: Residents were sifting through the ashes of more than 50 houses destroyed by a central Utah wildfire. In all, eight wildfires are burning across Utah.

Montana: Authorities in eastern Montana ordered the evacuation of several communities Saturday as the Ash Creek Complex fires, which has burned more than 70 homes this week, grew to 244 square miles.

Wyoming: A wind-driven wildfire in a sparsely populated area of southeastern Wyoming exploded from 8 square miles to nearly 58 square miles in a single day. About 200 structures were considered threatened.

Idaho: A fast-moving 1,000-acre wildfire in eastern Idaho that destroyed 66 homes and 29 outbuildings was expected to be contained Saturday. Some 1,000 residents were evacuated.

Colorado: In western Colorado, the 18-square-mile Pine Ridge Fire was 10 percent contained.

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