WETMORE — A fire fanned by fierce winds burned structures and prompted hundreds of evacuations west of Pueblo on Tuesday.
It had scorched at least 1,000 acres, the U.S. Forest Service said. Authorities did not confirm the number of structures destroyed.
Custer County sheriff’s officials evacuated the town of Wetmore, and Pueblo County sheriff’s officials said they were evacuating 308 homes in their jurisdiction as precaution because of strong, unpredictable winds.
Fremont County officials said that according to initial reports, it began as a structure fire that quickly spread to brush and grass.
The National Weather Service in Pueblo reported gusts up to 79 mph outside Wetmore just before 1 p.m. The winds grounded air resources to help fight the fire.
“The wind is blowing so hard, you can’t hardly stand up,” Wetmore resident Jim Cox told The Pueblo Chieftain. He, his wife and their dog were able to leave their home safely.
Colorado Highway 96 was closed to westbound traffic at the far west Lake Pueblo entrance.