BELLVUE, Colo. - Firefighters are making progress on a 92-square-mile wildfire in northern Colorado that has destroyed more homes than any other in state history, but more residents were warned Tuesday to be ready to leave because of a spot fire that ignited near the main fire.
The large blaze west of Fort Collins was 50 percent contained after firefighters labored in temperatures in the 90s to extend lines around the fire Monday. Strong winds were expected but did not materialize; gusts of around 30 miles per hour, however, were forecast along with more hot, dry weather.
The fire already has destroyed at least 189 homes since it was sparked by lightning June 9. Incident commander Bill Hahnenberg said it could be weeks or even months before it is finally controlled.
The wildfire is one of several across the West forcing people to flee, including another blaze in Colorado that has driven out nuns living in a monastery, Boy Scouts at camp, and residents of about 150 homes.
The Protection of the Holy Virgin Monastery evacuated as a precaution Sunday after the fire started in the foothills west of Colorado Springs.
A nun who returned to feed the chickens at the remote monastery Tuesday said the fire was about 2 miles from the site. She said sacred items from the chapel, including a chalice, along with insurance papers and historical documents, were removed Sunday as slurry bombers flew over the property.
That fire has burned nearly 2 square miles, and fire managers said it still has the potential to grow in an area where logs are drier than pine boards from a lumber yard.
In California, firefighters got a break from predicted overnight winds and were able to contain 75 percent of a 900-acre wildfire in mountainous eastern San Diego County, officials said Tuesday.
Despite high-wind warnings, it remained calm around the fire east of Campo, so firefighters increased containment from 30 percent to 75 percent, said Captain Mike Mohler of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
At least one house has burned and 150 homes have been evacuated. Evacuation orders remained in effect Tuesday because of road conditions and emergency equipment in the area, Mohler said.