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BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — A wind-whipped wildfire sent flames roaring through a rugged canyon in the Colorado foothills, forcing about 3,000 people to flee the area and destroying dozens of homes — some that belonged to the firefighters themselves, authorities said Tuesday.
Fire officials were assessing the extent of the damage and planned to release details at a morning news conference.
The blaze broke out Monday morning in Four Mile Canyon northwest of Boulder and rapidly spread across 5 1/2 square miles or 3,500 acres. Erratic 45-mph gusts sometimes sent the fire in two directions at once.
Crews managed to save the historic town of Gold Hill, including an old West grocery store and structures once used for stagecoach stops. But firefighters in the area had to relocate their engines and equipment several times to avoid the flames.
“The fire moved too quickly and was much more active than anticipated,” said Brett Haberstick of the Sunshine Fire Protection District.
Despite the fire’s destructive advance, no injuries have been reported, although some residents told of narrow escapes.
“I just drove through a wall of flames,” Tom Neur told KDVR-TV. “The bumper is melted off in the front of the van.”
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