May 20, 1996 in Nation/World

Colorado Forest Fire ‘Behaving’ Firefighters Making Progress In Containing 11,000-Acre Blaze

Associated Press

Firefighters from four states contained less than 50 percent of a fast-moving fire Sunday that had raced through 11,000 acres of parched pine forest in less than a day, forcing hundreds of people to flee.

“The fire is behaving itself well today. We’re anticipating a little cooperation from Mother Nature,” said Rik Kajans, a fire operations chief.

Firefighters could not estimate when the blaze would be brought under control.

No injuries have been reported.

Investigators think they have found the site of the fire’s origin, a burned-out tent at a campsite southwest of Buffalo Creek in Pike National Forest about 30 miles southwest of Denver. Yellow police tapes were put up around the site, at about 7,500 feet in elevation.

Forest Service officials said the blaze likely had been set by campers.

Smoke resembling huge thunderheads could be seen for miles around the Denver metropolitan area.

Hundreds of residents, campers and mountain bikers from Buffalo Creek and nearby Pine evacuated their homes Saturday as the fire raged through dry ponderosa pine and ran 10 miles east to the South Platte River in just hours. At least two homes burned down.

Meanwhile, another forest fire 15 miles west of Fort Collins, Colo., has burned more than 250 acres, while fires in northern Arizona have burned about 4,400 acres of dry ponderosa pine, brush and grass in the Coconino National Forest.

No injuries were reported in those fires, both of which broke out Saturday.

© Copyright 1996 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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