Heat, wind, clear skies intensify Junkins Fire

Posted at 4:28 PM, Oct 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-23 18:28:58-04

WESTCLIFFE, Colo. (AP) -- Firefighters say warmer-than-normal weather, clear skies and low humidity are intensifying a wildfire burning near Westcliffe that has destroyed nine homes.

Officials on Sunday urged drivers to watch out for higher levels of smoke on the road that can impair visibility. They also warned drivers not to slow down or stop unexpectedly to observe firefighting efforts. Airplanes and helicopters, including two Blackhawks from the Colorado National Guard, are being used to douse hot spots and reinforce fire lines to keep the Junkins Fire from spreading toward Beulah or homes in Custer County.

The fire has burned about 28 square miles. Some residents remain evacuated from their homes.

Officials say it started when high winds blew a metal outbuilding into a utility pole and knocked down a power line.


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