Residents on the southwestern outskirts of Denver are packing clothing and valuables, as they prepare to flee the largest fire to sweep across the region in more than a century. The blaze has already scorched more than 35,000 hectares along the Rocky Mountain foothills.
Thousands of people have left their homes as the fire approaches the edge of metropolitan Denver. Thousands more are waiting to learn if they should leave. One resident said, "It's just [a question of] how fast is it moving and how fast is this going to come. And do we have any chance at all of having our houses saved, or do we look at rebuilding? What are we going to come back to when we're told to leave?"
By mid-afternoon Tuesday, the so-called Hayman fire had come within 55 kilometers of Denver's outlying suburbs. Crews in the fire's path were pulled off the lines as winds pushed the flames toward them.
Colorado governor Bill Owens said the weather will determine how bad things get. "If we have help from the weather, we may not have to evacuate very many more. If the weather turns, we could be evacuating thousands more."
The fire, which was started Saturday by an illegal campfire, is the largest of eight burning across Colorado.