Wildfire destroys homes, forces evacuations in southern Colorado

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
Wetmore Fire in Custer County, Colo. Oct. 23, 2012

Wetmore Fire in Custer County, Colo. Oct. 23, 2012

CUSTER COUNTY, Colo. — A fast-moving wildfire destroyed at least 12 structures and exploded to more than 1,000 acres near Wetmore Tuesday, driven by winds that gusted to near 80 miles-per-hour during the afternoon.

Powerful winds continued to fan the flames late Tuesday night.

People left in a hurry as evacuation orders went out for hundreds of residents who live west of Pueblo at the Custer County/Pueblo County line.

The plume of smoke racing across eastern Colorado could be seen from up and down the Front Range.

The Custer County Office of Emergency Management ordered the evacuation of areas near Wetmore, including the Greenwood Village subdivision and county roads 389, 390 and 391.

The Red Cross opened an evacuation shelters in Florence and Pueblo. One man told a shocking story about his escape from the flames. Read it here.

It was first reported as a structure fire that spread to grass and brush. Fire officials say they don’t know how specifically the fire started.

The Rocky Mountain Area Coordination Center says in addition to the evacuations, Highways 96 and 67 were closed.

There were 12 engines on scene and two helicopters were ordered along with two Hotshot crews and one Type II hand crew. It was too windy for any type of air attack Tuesday.

Send your pictures to tips@kdvr.com.