COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — A wildfire in the Black Forest area northeast of Colorado Springs burned homes in a heavily wooded area Tuesday, and evacuations were ordered.
Video from a helicopter showed flames engulfing one home and burning at least one more. The evacuated areas included Cathedral Pines, a neighborhood with some homes worth more than $1 million.
The Black Forest Fire was one of at least three significant wildfires burning in Colorado amid gusty winds and record-breaking hot, dry weather.
A fire burning on an estimated 300 acres south of the Royal Gorge Bridge and Arkansas River led to the evacuation of the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park near Canon City, the Bureau of Land Management said. Park spokeswoman Peggy Gair told The Gazette (http://bit.ly/13z4AVJ ) the evacuations affected several hundred people at the park, which closed Tuesday afternoon. Evacuations also were in effect from Parkdale to Soda Point, north of the Royal Gorge, the BLM said.
In northern Colorado, crews were trying to suppress a wildfire sparked by lightning Monday in Rocky Mountain National Park that was growing and sending out large plumes of smoke. No immediate size estimate was available.
Fire managers usually try to allow naturally occurring fires to burn, partly to prevent bigger wildfires later. But park spokeswoman Kyle Patterson said managers decided to fight it because of extended drought conditions and reduced resources. She said the park's ability to manage a long burning fire is "significantly limited."
The Air Force Academy sent a fire engine, a water truck and nine members of its fire team to help with the Black Forest fire, Air Force Capt. Richard Ricciardi said.
The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning covering southern Colorado due to hot, dry, windy conditions that were ripe for fast-growing wildfires.