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Western Colorado fires grow in warm weather, drought

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. — Fueled by drought conditions, wildfires burning in western Colorado continue to grow in warm, windy weather.

The Grizzly Creek Fire east of Glenwood Springs, which has shut down a 57-mile (92-kilometer) portion of Interstate 70 for four days, had grown to nearly 10 square miles (26 square kilometers) by Thursday. It’s mostly spreading to the west into the No Name Creek drainage. If it crosses it, parts of Glenwood Springs north of I-70 would be put on pre-evacuation notice, the Glenwood Springs Post Independent reported.

Some homes east of Glenwood Springs have been evacuated, and residents on the north end of the city have been told to be prepared to leave their homes if the fire intensifies.

Homes have also been evacuated by a wildfire that was started by lightning on July 31 north of Grand Junction. The Pine Gulch Fire had grown to about 107 square miles (277 square kilometers) and was 7 percent contained as of Thursday.

The closure of I-70 has forced drivers headed east or west across Colorado to take long detours around the interstate. Colorado Highway 82 over Independence Pass near Aspen was closed Wednesday after heavy traffic on the sometimes narrow mountain road, which was not a recommended detour, created unsafe conditions. Multiple vehicles towing trailers became stuck on the pass, the Colorado Department of Transportation said.

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