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Huge wildfires hit Colorado and New Mexico

Hundreds of firefighters have joined efforts to tackle two of the biggest wildfires ever seen in the US states of Colorado and New Mexico.

The Colorado blaze shrouded the state capital, Denver, 60 miles (100km) away, in smoke, hampering rescue efforts.

A woman has died in the blaze, which has burned about 43,000 acres (68 sq miles). Smaller fires also burnt in nine drought-stricken western states, including Utah, California and Arizona. In Colorado’s Larimer County, authorities and family members said Linda Steadman, 62, died inside her mountain cabin.

Sheriff Justin Smith said that her home had received two evacuation warnings that were not answered, AP reports.

President Barack Obama called the Colorado governor to offer federal personnel, equipment and emergency grants – but was unable to reach his New Mexico counterpart due to poor reception in the fire zone, the Associated Press reported.

According to a national incident information website, a fire in two national parks in Colorado, – dubbed the High Park Fire – has scorched 43,000 acres of forest. About 118 structures have been damaged or destroyed by the blaze in the state – believed to have been started by lightning. Hundreds of people had to be evacuated and some 600 firefighters were sent to the scene.

Sandy Mullen, whose home was destroyed in the blaze, said she left when it became clear that little would be left of her home.

“The ashes were coming down, the fire was coming down when we left so we knew, and it was burning on three sides,” she told AP.

In southern New Mexico, a 145-sq-km (56-sq-mile) fire threatening the village of Ruidoso damaged or destroyed at least 224 homes and cabins, AP reports. Rescuers said all that was left on the sites of homes destroyed by the Little Bear fire was heaps of scorched metal.

“It’s truly heartbreaking to see the damage done to this beautiful part of the country,” New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez said after visiting the area.

Source: BBC News

Category: World News |

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Last updated March 23, 2017 at 9:28 PM
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