Crews hope to use the main east-west highway across southern Colorado -- U.S. 160 as a fire line today to help contain a 4,450 acre wildfire that's causing the evacuation of 270 homes in two counties.
Fire information officer Steve Segin says firefighters burned vegetation along the highway late yesterday as officials ordered mandatory evacuations affecting two subdivisions in northeast Costilla County and one in Huerfano County.
Crews focused on protecting five rural homes in immediate danger after they were pulled off the lines earlier yesterday as flames as high as 200-feet swept across the area.
The fire started by lightning is burning near La Veta Pass.
No homes have been destroyed.
The Red Cross opened two shelters for evacuees near the town of Fort Garland.
Fire managers say the fire is burning in an area that includes miles of downed logs, leftover wood from logging, dry grasses and pine trees dried out from years of drought.
Segin says five single-engine air tankers, a heavy air tanker and two helicopter are providing air support to approximately 240 firefighters assigned to the fire.
More are on the way.