Gale force winds and drought spawned raging wildfires across five states of the parched Southwest on Sunday, damaging dozens of homes and businesses and forcing a Kansas town to evacuate, authorities said.
Wildfires were reported in Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Kansas. In some cases, firefighters were struggling to bring them under control amid high and shifting winds.
West of Fort Collins, Colorado a fire blackened 4,500 acres, destroyed 15 homes, and residents of another 336 homes remained under evacuation orders, authorities said.
The blaze, burning in mountain terrain about 65 miles northwest of Denver, is five-percent contained, Reghan Cloudman, a fire information officer with the U.S. Forest Service, told Reuters.
Wind gusts in excess of 90 miles per hour fanned the flames, which grew from 20 acres Saturday to more than 4,500 acres overnight, forcing the early-morning evacuations.