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Large wildfire in N. Colorado prompts evacuations

Associated Press Modified: June 10, 2012 at 1:30 am •  Published: June 10, 2012

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) — Crews on Saturday battled a fast-moving wildfire in northern Colorado that has scorched about 8,000 acres and prompted several dozen evacuation orders.

Larimer County Sheriff's Office spokesman John Schulz said the fire was reported just before 6 a.m. Saturday in the mountainous Paradise Park area about 25 miles northwest of Fort Collins.

The blaze expanded rapidly during the late afternoon and evening and by Saturday night, residents living along several roads in the region had been ordered to evacuate and many more were warned that they might have to flee. An evacuation center has been set up at a Laporte middle school.

Officials didn't specify how many residents had evacuated but said they had sent out 800 emergency notifications alerting people to the fire and the possibility that might have to flee.

"Right now we're just trying to get these evacuations done and get people safe," Schulz told Denver-based KMGH-TV, adding that "given the extreme heat in the area, it makes it a difficult time for (the firefighters)." Temperatures near Fort Collins reached the mid-80s Saturday afternoon with a humidity level of between 5 percent and 10 percent.

Ten structures have been damaged, although authorities were unsure if they were homes or some other kind of buildings. No injuries have been reported. The cause of the fire was unknown.

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