Fire destroys home |

Fire destroys home

RIFLE, Colo. (AP) ” A 1,300-acre Colorado wildfire has forced the evacuation of 40 homes and destroyed at least one residence, authorities said Friday as they warned that gusty winds could force more people to flee.

The fire, which was reported Thursday, was burning between Rulison and Rifle, an area of intense natural gas development about 190 miles west of Denver. Authorities estimated the fire’s size at between 1,500 and 1,800 acres Thursday night, but lowered that estimate Friday.

A second Hotshot crew was ordered to help fight the fire and a firefighting helicopter was diverted from Wyoming, said Larry Helmerick of the interagency Rocky Mountain Area Coordination Center.

Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario said the fire was calm overnight, but has not been contained and wind gusting to 25 mph may force more evacuations. He also said some residents would be allowed to return home Friday “at their own risk.”

The fire has burned a home and four other buildings, Vallario said. He also said a firefighter suffered a broken arm.

All wells in the area of the fire were physically inspected today, including 30 wells owned by Williams Co. energy firm ” which were not seriously affected and only sustained minor damage. A gas line between a Williams well and a private residence was impacted.

The Rifle Senior Center was opened to evacuees.

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