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High Fire Danger Today

Wildfire

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Larimer County authorities say the fire is moving toward Gateway Park. They have already evacuated eight homes in the area and put 12 others on standby.

More than 40 firefighters are at the scene of Colorado's first significant wildfire of the season. Air crews are dropping slurry on the blaze -- which apparently started yesterday when a yard fire got out of control.

Temperatures Wednesday are expected to be nearly 80 degrees, with wind gusts to 33 miles per hour.

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Taming a Wildfire

  • Fueled by summer temperatures and dry conditions, millions of acres of America's forests burn each year. Wildland firefighters are faced with the difficult task of containing the sprawling blazes while withstanding intense heat, poor visibility and perils of the wilderness.

  • A combined effort of agencies within the Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Interior includes thousands of full-time firefighters and volunteers, a fleet of engines, planes and helicopters and an array of technology ranging from infrared imaging to shovels.

  • There are many ways to fight a fire in the air. Specially trained firefighters, called smokejumpers, parachute into otherwise inaccessible areas of a fire during the initial stages of the attack.

  • When landing is not an options, "helitack" crews use equipment to lower slings and firefighters to the surface.

  • Large aircraft drop water or retardant in a long string to create a line. Pink dye allows the pilot to see where it lands.

  • Planes equipped with infrared mapping systems make flights before sunrise and after sunset to locate hot spots in a fire.

  • Helicopters make repeated drops, filling buckets at nearby lakes or water containers.

  • On the ground, highly trained firefighters are assigned the toughest parts of a fire. There are more than 60 hotshot crews nationwide, make up of nearly 1,400 firefighters.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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