Southwestern Colo. wildfires grow in heat, wind

PAGOSA SPRINGS — Two backcountry fires started by lightning earlier this month in southwestern Colorado are growing and producing lots of smoke.

The largest, the West Fork Fire, was burning on nearly 20 square miles Thursday. Hot and windy conditions have also pushed the Windy Pass Fire to 700 acres and within a quarter-mile of structures on the south side of the Wolf Creek Ski Area.

Smoke has shut down U.S. Highway 160 over Wolf Creek Pass.

Both fires have been fueled by large swaths of beetle-killed trees.

Firefighters have largely let them burn but fire spokeswoman Anne Jeffery said they were working to keep them away from the ski resort now that the area burning has fewer dead trees and some open spaces.


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