Early wildfire chars up to 1,000 acres in N Colo.

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) - One resident calls it "a really bad start" to a wildfire season that Coloradans have been nervously awaiting.

The year's first major fire along the populous Front Range was spotted late yesterday morning and erratic winds had whipped it across nearly 1,000 acres in northern Colorado by last night.

The fire began Friday west of Fort Collins and was burning near the scene of a large wildfire last summer that burned 259 homes and killed one person. More than 50 homes are being threatened by the latest wildfire, prompting hundreds of evacuation orders.

The fire was 5 percent contained, and crews were hoping for calmer weather today.

Firefighters saved two homes and a state park visitors' center. They said no homes had been destroyed.

The cause is under investigation.

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