GUNNISON, Colo. (AP/CBS4) – A 100-acre wildfire north of Gunnison prompted evacuations of almost 40 homes in windy, warm weather Friday, and sheriff’s officials said residents near a 10-acre fire west of Gunnison could start preparing to leave just in case.

The larger fire was burning about 2 miles north of Gunnison in western Colorado. Firefighters reported it was 30 percent contained Friday evening. The smaller fire was reported in Little Blue Canyon between Gunnison and Montrose. It wasn’t clear how either fire started.

In Routt County, officials quickly contained a fire that burned a little more than an acre. Sheriff’s Sgt. Kurtis Luster told The Steamboat Pilot & Today the fire started after a tree blew over and knocked down a power line. There were no reports of any structures being damaged.

Crews also battled other small fires Friday. Colorado is abnormally dry for this time of year following a March with little rain or snow. Gunnison and Routt counties were in an area that National Weather Service forecasters said was under a red flag warning Friday because of gusty winds, low humidity and dry vegetation that could fuel a fast-growing wildfire.

A gust of 77 mph was reported at Monarch Pass in central Colorado, and a gust of 58 mph was reported at Wolf Creek Pass in southwest Colorado.

It was so windy in parts of the mountains Friday afternoon that ski areas including Copper Mountain and Steamboat didn’t run some of their lifts, and Breckenridge shut down a gondola.

There was also a small fire reported on Fort Carson land near Colorado Springs. The fire was described as being about 200 meters in size.

Wildfire Resources

– Visit’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.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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