Fire threatens homes near Rifle |

Fire threatens homes near Rifle

The Associated Press
Post Independent/Kelley Cox

RIFLE, Colo. ” At least 40 homes near here were evacuated as a wildfire grew to several hundred acres in just a few hours Thursday, destroying at least four outbuildings and threatening a tourist lodge, officials said.

Residents in several homes in the area were also advised to leave if they felt they were in danger as crews aided by two air tankers battled the flames, Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario told radio station KMTS-FM.

Vallario estimated the size of the fire at between 1,500 and 1,800 acres (between 2.3 miles and 2.8 miles). Evacuees were being sent to Rifle City Hall.

At least 50 homes were threatened and the tourist lodge was in imminent danger, said Larry Helmerick of the Rocky Mountain Area Coordination Center. Helmerick did not immediately know the name of the tourist lodge.

The fire was reported at about 3:30 p.m. in the rural area that has home scattered on plots ranging from 5 acres to ranches with more than 100 acres, Vallario said.

A cause has not been determined.

Molly Glasschroeder, who answered the phone at the Brickyard Square restaurant in Rifle, said the fire was burning about 10 miles away from her town.

“I can see the smoke out the back door,” she said. “Big, huge amounts of black smoke.”

The fire was burning between Rifle and Rulison south of Interstate 70 and the Colorado River.

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