COALDALE, Colo. (AP) – Firefighters are letting areas of a wildfire burn near Coaldale in southern Colorado because it is too dangerous to get into some wilderness areas, authorities said Sunday.

However, they have managed to protect homes and contain 20 percent of the blaze.

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In northern Colorado, the state’s largest fire was burning along the Colorado-Wyoming border. It has blackened more than 35 square miles after starting June 19.

(credit: CPS Canon City, Twitter)

(credit: CPS Canon City, Twitter)

On Saturday, winds gusting to 35 mph kept the fire north of Walden moving toward the Republic River, where firefighters were protecting several ranches.

Officials want to “protect the structures in the area, while keeping the safety of our firefighters safe is our No. 1 priority,” incident commander Chuck Russell said.

People near Coaldale began evacuating July 10 after that fire flared up from a lightning strike several days earlier. It has burned 25 square miles and more than 140 homes have been evacuated.

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On Friday, the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office began allowing some people to return to their homes for a few hours to gather last-minute possessions and throw away food that spoiled after power was turned off.

Crews have contained several other fires in the state, including one that destroyed eight homes in the mountains near Boulder. Evacuees have been allowed to return.

Wildfire Resources

– Visit CBSDenver.com’s Living With Wildfire section.

Wildfire Photo Galleries

– See images from the most destructive wildfires (Black Forest, Waldo Canyon, High Park and Fourmile) and largest wildfire (Hayman) in Colorado history.

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