Wildfires in Colorado worst in decade | News | DW | 25.06.2012
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Wildfires in Colorado worst in decade

Colorado is facing its worst wildfires in a decade. Smoke has shrouded an iconic US mountain peak, as a blaze rages that forced the evacuation of thousands of people.

The fire around Colorado's Pikes Peak is one of 20 forest and scrub blazes burning across several western US states.

At Colorado Springs an emergency services spokesman, Roy Deyerberg, described the local situation as "very, very volatile."

Pikes Peak, at a height of at 4,300 meters (14,100 feet), is billed as North America's most-visited mountain.

Another wildfire blazing at High Park west of Fort Collins for two weeks has destroyed some 250 homes and consumed 34,000 hectares (83,000 acres) of scrubland spread across steep canyons.

State governor John Hickenlooper said C-130 military transport planes from a local airbase would assist in firefighting from Monday.

Around the town of Fountain Green in neighboring Utah, state authorities are investigating the cause of a blaze that has scarred 12,000 hectares of landscape, destroyed 30 buildings, and forced evacuations of rural subdivisions.

The US Forest Service said another fire closer to the state capital Salt Lake City had been largely contained.

ipj/rc (AP, AFP, Reuters)