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4 major wildfires burning in Colorado, thousands of homes evacuated

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - At least four major wildfires have broken out along the Rocky Mountain front in Colorado.

Hot, gusty weather has been spreading flames quickly. Thick smoke plumes have been billowing from fires near Colorado Springs, in southern Colorado, and in Rocky Mountain National Park to the north.

The El Paso County sheriff says a wildfire in a residential area northeast of Colorado Springs has forced mandatory evacuations of more than 2,500 homes. About eight homes have burned, but the sheriff had no exact number because the fire was moving too quickly. He says firefighters have shifted from evacuation mode to search and rescue mode.

In southern Colorado, the Bureau of Land Management said three structures have been lost in a fire on about 300 acres near the Royal Gorge Bridge. Authorities evacuated Royal Gorge Bridge & Park.

A third wildfire in southern Colorado erupted Tuesday in rural Huerfano County, prompting evacuation orders to about 200 residences northeast of the fire.

A fourth wildfire sparked by lightning Monday in Rocky Mountain National Park has grown to an estimated 300 to 400 acres, but no structures are threatened.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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