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70 mph winds push Dead Dog Fire in northwest Colorado to more than 5,000 acres

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CRAIG, Colo. — The Dead Dog Fire burning 10 miles north of Rangely grew from 40 acres to more than 5,000 acres Monday after winds exceeding 70 mph fanned the flames, the Northwest Colorado Fire Management Unit said.

While Rio Blanco County roads 1 and 65, and and Moffat County roads 61 and 134 remain closed, fire officials reopened U.S. Highway 40 and lifted evacuation orders for Blue Mountain.

The fire is burning within a quarter-mile of U.S. 40.

A community meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the EEC Building (402 W. Main St.) in Rangely.

A second fire burning 20 miles southwest of Meeker is an estimated 30 percent contained.  Fire crews were able to hold the Hunter Fire to 1,063 acres despite the strong winds.

More than 200 firefighters are working the two fires with additional resources on the way.

A third wildfire, the Cross Fire 35 miles west of Craig, remains at 55 acres, officials said.

The Rio Blanco County Sheriff’s Office said residents in Dinosaur have been asked to be prepared to evacuate as the fire pushes northwest.

High winds are anticipated again Tuesday in the area.