Washington, May 13 (IANS): Smoke from several major wildfires choked Colorado Springs, the US state's second-largest city, torching eight homes, closing the airport and causing thousands of evacuations, as dry conditions and heavy winds spread the blazes quickly throughout the area.
As night fell on Colorado Springs, located 112.6 km south of the state capital Denver, dozens of fire crews from across the region responded to the grass fires and were "gaining the upper hand", Xinhua news agency quoted Denver CBS4 News as saying on Friday.
According to Colorado Public Radio, one fire engulfed eight homes in the Skylark Mobile Home Park, where 500 homes were emptied and 1,000 residents were evacuated to a nearby fitness centre.
Fifty firefighters responded to the blaze that saw several propane tanks venting flames 15 metres in the air.
Meanwhile, a fire east of town consumed another 0.4 square km, forcing 50 residents to evacuate and prompting Colorado Springs Airport to issue a shelter-in-place order for about an hour, according to the Colorado Springs Fire Department.
About 100 firefighters, 28 deputies and 63 police officers assisted with battling the fires and evacuations.
The Department added that no structures were lost or damaged, and no injuries were reported.
According to First Alert 5 Weather Forecast, strong to dangerous winds and extremely low daytime relative humidity helped create extreme fire conditions in southern Colorado.
Also, a fourth wildfire was reported west of the city in Teller County, south of the popular tourist attraction Pikes Peak, resulting in forced evacuations.