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Whipping winds fan wildfire, forcing evacuations


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Whipping winds fan wildfire, forcing evacuations

Hurricane-force winds down trees and power lines

Friday, November 4, 2005; Posted: 10:32 a.m. EST (15:32 GMT)




CONIFER, Colorado (AP) -- A wildfire fanned by hurricane-force winds in central Colorado forced the temporary evacuation of 200 families.


The seven-acre fire was likely started by sparks from wind-whipped power lines, authorities said.


The blaze near Conifer, 25 miles southwest of Denver, was contained early Friday. No houses were damaged and residents were allowed to return home.


A news crew heading to the fire in a helicopter was tossed around by the wind gusts.


"The wind was throwing the helicopter where the winds wanted to throw us. To the right. To the left. Up. Down," said Jason Luber, traffic reporter for Denver radio station KOA-AM. "You just hold on for dear life and hope that you make it out OK."


Winds up to 84 mph overturned tractor trailers, blew out windows and knocked over trees. Colorado Springs Utilities said large portions of the city were without power.


Officials said the fire began sometime Thursday.



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