Agriculture Secretary Vilsack To Meet With Fire Officials In Fort Collins

DENVER (AP) – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is planning a two-day trip to Colorado and New Mexico as wildfires continue to force evacuations, threaten buildings and scorch large swaths of land in both states.

Vilsack is scheduled to meet with fire managers in Fort Collins on Saturday and hold a news conference with U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell in Albuquerque on Sunday.

The 81-square-mile High Park Fire west of Fort Collins is believed to have killed a 62-year-old woman and has damaged or destroyed at least 48 homes since it began a week ago.

Meanwhile, a fire that has scorched 59 square miles and destroyed at least 224 homes in the Sierra Blanca range near Ruidoso, N.M., is 45 percent contained, but firefighters are working amid dry conditions.

Vilsack is expected to talk about additional resources deployed to the fires.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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