Colorado wildfire grows amid erratic wind gusts


FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) -- A fire burning near a scenic canyon in northern Colorado has grown from about 1.5 square miles to more than 11 square miles amid erratic winds kicked up by dry thunderstorms.

Evacuation orders were issued for about 80 homes as the fire grew Thursday, but residents of about 65 of those homes were allowed to return Thursday evening.

The blaze in Poudre Canyon northwest of Fort Collins is believed to have been human-caused, but an investigation is continuing.

Authorities have said it was burning within a quarter-mile of some homes.

Steep, rocky terrain and lack of roads in the area are hampering firefighting efforts. Nearly 400 firefighters are at the scene.

The fire was one of several burning in the West on Thursday.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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