Firefighters battled wildfires that spread quickly in parched forests in Colorado and New Mexico, forcing hundreds of people from their homes and the evacuation of wolves from a sanctuary. The Colorado fire, burning in a mountainous area about 15 miles west of Fort Collins, grew to 22 square miles within about a day of being reported and has destroyed or damaged 18 structures. Strong winds meanwhile, grounded aircraft fighting a 40-square-mile fire near the mountain community of Ruidoso in southern New Mexico. Crews were still working to build a fire line around the blaze, which started on Friday and has damaged or destroyed 36 structures. It was not immediately clear how many of the structures lost were homes.
In Colorado, the fire sent up heavy smoke, obscuring the sun and creating an eerie, orange dusk in the middle of the day. The smell of smoke drifted into the Denver area and smoke from the fires spread as far away as parts of central Nebraska, western Kansas and Texas.