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Wildfire Prompts Evacuations Near Las Animas

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An image from the fire in Bent County (credit: CBS)

An image from the fire in Bent County (credit: CBS)

CAMPO, Colo. (AP) - A wildfire burning near Las Animas grew to about 11 square miles on Sunday, leading authorities to call for some home evacuations in Hasty along U.S. 50.

Brandon Williams of the Colorado Division of Emergency Management, said evacuation orders for about a dozen homes in Hasty Sunday morning had been lifted by afternoon.

The blaze is one of three that started Saturday in southeastern Colorado and the Oklahoma panhandle. In neighboring Baca County, Emergency Management Director Riley Frazee said a fatal rollover accident Saturday sparked a 3-square-mile wildfire northeast of Campo that destroyed a home, a fire truck from a volunteer fire department, several outbuildings, vehicles, farm implements and machinery. Another home was damaged.

The blaze, which prompted the evacuation of 10 homes in a rural area dotted by grassland and farm fields, was contained early Sunday, said Frazee.

No injuries were reported in any of the blazes.

The Colorado State Patrol is investigating the cause of the crash Saturday on a county road 11 miles northeast of Campo that killed a 15-year-old girl. Investigators say the car caught fire after it rolled over and landed in a field, setting it ablaze. Speed and road conditions are being investigated as factors in the crash.

The blaze was one of three wildfires that volunteer fire departments from Baca County responded to Saturday as hot, dry and windy weather lingered in the area. Crews were about 25 miles south in neighboring Oklahoma near Boise City fighting a fire in the Cimarron River, and also about 60 miles north in Bent County battling the blaze near John Martin Reservoir south of Hasty when the crash sparked the blaze.

“It’s getting hotter every day, our crews are run to death out there,” Frazee said. “It’s been a wildfire about every other day.”

The county has six volunteer fire departments ranging in size from six to about 15. Destroyed in the blaze Saturday was a fire truck from the Vilas Fire Department. Additional details were not immediately available.

Frazee said the blaze in Oklahoma was contained Saturday.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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