Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Colorado wildfire that destroys houses and forces hundreds of residents to evacuate leaves 1 Dead

A person has died in a Colorado wildfire that destroyed at least five homes as raging flames sweep across the state.

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, which hasn't released the victim's name or any other details, is still trying to determine what killed the person.

Investigators say the body was found late on Monday after the wind-driven wildfire spread across more than four-and-a-half square miles amid dry, windy weather.

'We're in a defensive mode, structure protection only,' Jefferson County Sheriff's spokeswoman Jacki Kelley said. 'We're not really fighting the fire right now.'

Kelley said authorities do not know how many houses were lost but said it was at least five and probably more than 10. Authorities ordered residents of more than 900 homes to evacuate.

There were no immediate reports of injuries, but a sheriff's deputy who was alerting residents to leave was trapped in his patrol car after he inadvertently drove into a ditch in the thick smoke, Kelley said. He summoned help by radio.

Up to a dozen smaller fires were reported from the northeast Colorado plains to the southern part of the state. There were no immediate reports of injuries or structures destroyed in any of the other fires. Read More