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Major Wildfire In Yuma County Forces Hundreds Of Evacuations

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An image of the fire in Yuma County on Sunday (credit: Tony Rayl, Yuma Pioneer)

An image of the fire in Yuma County on Sunday (credit: Tony Rayl, Yuma Pioneer)

GALLERIES: COLORADO'S WORST WILDFIRES

YUMA COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – A very large wildfire burning in Yuma County has forced evacuations.

The fire is burning at Yuma County Road 26 to Highway 34, and from Highway 59 and County Road T. It’s been reported to be about 10 miles long and about a mile and a half wide. As of 9 p.m. Sunday it was reported to have burned about six miles by 14 miles and is about 50 percent contained.

The whole town of Eckley has been told to evacuate. There are an estimated 300 residents of the town. Officials say the fire has come close to some of the homes.

There have been Evacuation Centers set up in Wray at the Wray Rehabilitation and Activity Center which is located at 700 Main Street; and in Yuma at the Yuma Community Center located at 421 East 2nd Avenue. Evacuation orders are not expected to be lifted overnight.

The evacuation area is 14 miles wide by 16 miles long. Wind gusts have been approximately 40 miles per hour and have not decreased.

Yuma County Sheriff Chad Day said three firefighters have been injured. One firefighter suffered smoke inhalation and the other two suffered minor burns. All are expected to be okay.

yuma fire 3 the main event bar yuma Major Wildfire In Yuma County Forces Hundreds Of Evacuations

(credit: Main Event Bar)

Two farm houses have been destroyed with several more threatened. Officials say it’s possible other structures have burned but they won’t be able to tell until they can make an assessment.

Highway 34 was closed between Yuma and Wray for about eight hours. It reopened after 9 p.m. There were reports of multiple accidents on the highway due to poor visibility.

Many businesses are in the path of fire, including JBS 5 Rivers, Schwan, Cargill Feed Lots, and other corporate dairies and hog farms. Some cattle have been lost.

yuma map Major Wildfire In Yuma County Forces Hundreds Of Evacuations

(credit: CBS)

Day said eight to 10 fire agencies are fighting the fire. Visibility is so poor they may have to use satellite images to pinpoint hotspots.

The cause of the fire has not been determined.

News Release from the American Red Cross

Local American Red Cross volunteers are actively working with a collaborative effort of Yuma and Washington County Emergency Management to support two evacuation centers in response to a large wild fire near Yuma.The fire is covering about 18 square miles and has forced the evacuation of over 200 square miles. Smoke is creating a significant obstacle to fighting the fire and dividing evacuees into two groups. Those east of the smoke are being asked to evacuate to the Wray Rehabilitation and Activity Center and those to the west are going to the Yuma Community Center.

“It has been an awesome community effort to support the affected families. The outreach from the communities, local businesses and neighbors has been great! So far in Yuma, neighbors have taken in every family displaced.” said Leslie Reim, the local Team Lead for the Red Cross response.
Red Cross caseworkers are preparing to meet with families that have suffered losses on Monday. For the moment, volunteers are making sure everyone has care, shelter, food and hope. The local communities are really showing their sense of community and making a very difficult situation so much better.

Wildfire Resources

- Visit CBSDenver.com’s Wildfire Resources section.

- Read recent Wildfire stories.

Wildfire Photo Galleries

- See images from the most destructive wildfire (Fourmile Fire) and largest wildfire (Hayman Fire) in Colorado history.

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