By Tom Mustin
PHILLIPS COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Relentless and blowing smoke and dust fueled a devastating wildfire in Logan County on Tuesday.
“The memories; my heart goes out to them,” volunteer Darlene Widgery said.
The 30,000-acre blaze burned dangerously close to the town of Haxtun, torching four homes and devouring livestock and farm equipment.
“I’ve never seen anything of this magnitude ever,” said rancher Kyle McConnell.
McConnell lost approximately 185 cattle in the blaze. After driving his wife and children to safety, he returned to his hometown to help firefighters battle the flames.
“It’s your friends and neighbors and their families and their values,” McConnell said. “You don’t leave anybody behind.”
At the Haxtun fire station, an emotional Widgery helped organize a sea of food and drinks — all donated from nearby communities to help families and firefighters in need.
“This is real life; this isn’t a story. People have lost their homes. Those are things you can’t replace,” she said. “I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.”
By Tuesday afternoon the fire was estimated at 80 percent containment with Mother Nature still calling the shots.
Firefighters have been dealing with visibility and gale-force winds.
With the fire still raging and countless lives changed forever, McConnell says he and his neighbors will find strength to carry on.
“Regroup; find out what’s left and move on,” he said. “It’s just going to take the strength of the community to get over this.”
– Visit CBSDenver.com’s Living With Wildfire section.
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