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Firefighters get respite from nature in Colorado

Hayman fire at about 45-percent containment

A firefighting helicopter is dwarfed by fire and smoke as it battles the Missionary Ridge wildfire north of of Durango, Colorado.
A firefighting helicopter is dwarfed by fire and smoke as it battles the Missionary Ridge wildfire north of of Durango, Colorado.  


LAKEWOOD, Colorado (CNN) -- Firefighters raced Friday to take advantage of more favorable weather conditions than those that have spread the largest wildfires in state history in the past two weeks.

"We had a tenth of an inch of rain last night and temperatures were in the lower- to mid-50s, so that's great," said Connie Powers, a fire information officer at the south Hayman command center.

"Today we're expecting temperatures in the 80- to 85-degree range, winds of about 3 to 6 miles per hour and a drop in relative humidity to about 13 percent from an overnight of 73 percent."

Powers said that, as of Friday, the Hayman fire has "held at about 137,000 acres and about 45-percent containment."

Meanwhile, in the Rio Grande National Forest, fire crews were still contending with the latest addition to the barrage of blazes --the Million fire -- which began Wednesday about two miles south of South Fork.

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Earlier reports said that fire had scorched some 6,000 acres, but "with better mapping of the area we're able to report, as of this morning, 4,500 acres," said Bobbie Mixon, a Rocky Mountain Fire coordination spokesman.

"We are reporting 15 homes lost. Several subdivisions have been evacuated -- somewhere between 60 to 100 homes and about 250 people, " Mixon said. "The [Million] fire is zero-percent contained."

The public information officer reported that the Missionary Ridge fire near Durango has consumed about 58,790 acres and is still 25-percent contained.

All evacuations have been lifted for the Hensel fire in Wyoming -- a 10,588-acre fire that's only 10-percent contained, according to Mixon.

"The Hensel fire is still something we're watching very closely," he said. "Weather conditions could shift, so we just want to keep our eye on that."

Weather predictions for the weekend call for "hot, dry weather with lower relative humidity," Powers said.

A forest service employee is accused of intentionally setting the Hayman fire. Terry Barton, 38, is has been granted bail in the amount of $600,000 if she agrees to live in a halfway house and not visit any forest area. (Full story.)

In Arizona, firefighters continued to grapple with fires, two of which might be close enough to each other to join forces. (Full story.)



 
 
 
 






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