Fri June 17, 2011
Colorado Wildfires

Winds, Heat Hamper Firefighting Efforts

Cooler temperatures and high humidity are an aid to firefighters battling a nearly six square mile wildfire near the town of Westcliffe, about 150 miles south of Denver.   But fire information officer Linda Hecker says winds are starting to pick up this afternoon and that has crews on high alert.

"Winds are really the main issue on this fire," Hecker says. "it’s really erratic, it’s blowing the fire in all kinds of different directions."

About 350 people in both Custer and Fremont counties have been evacuated because of the fire,It started Sunday in the San Isabel National Forest and is 10 percent contained. Authorities suspect it was human-caused.

Further south, crews are hoping to get more containment on the 27,000 acre Track Fire along the Colorado-New Mexico border.  That blaze has burned nearly a dozen buildings including some homes. 

The weather is expected to continue to be a factor for firefighters throughout the weekend, with forecast highs expected to reach the 90s in parts of southern Colorado.