Colorado Wildfires Destroy More Than 350 Homes

UPDATE 6:00 a.m. EST: Authorities discovered Thursday that the Black Forest wildfire had claimed the lives of two people, reports The Los Angeles Times (http://lat.ms/13JAe37).

El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa said the victims were found about 2 p.m. in their garage with the car doors open, probably trying to load belongings when the fire engulfed them. They are thought to have died sometime after 5 p.m. Tuesday as their neighborhood in Black Forest was being evacuated.

The fire has devoured 15,700 acres — 24.5 square miles — and claimed 360 homes. Firefighters reported slight progress in some areas, and containment is now thought to be 5%.

ORIGINAL STORY: More than 360 Colorado homes have been destroyed and 38,000 evacuations have been ordered as wildfires continue to burn, reports NBC News.

The 15,000-acre Black Forest fire had reduced 360 homes to cinders by Thursday afternoon, up sharply from about 100 that had been consumed late Wednesday.

It was not just the worst of three destructive fires burning simultaneously across the state, but also the worst in state history, authorities said. Gov. John Hickenlooper signed three disaster emergencies Thursday authorizing a combined $10.15 million to help pay for firefighting and other costs.

The evacuation order for a large area east of Colorado Springs — including some residential areas of the city itself — “means you are in immediate danger. Load your family and pets, and GO NOW,” the sheriff’s office said.

The evacuation zone now covers 94,000 acres.

Read more of the story here http://nbcnews.to/176oHkz

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