IMAGE: Smoke drifts over the northern Colorado foothills Friday.
Kcnc-tv  /  AP
Smoke drifts over the northern Colorado foothills Friday. Officials predicted a devastating Western fire season this summer.
updated 4/3/2004 11:56:47 AM ET 2004-04-03T16:56:47

Rain drenched much of Colorado but missed large sections of an 8,700-acre wildfire that has destroyed one home and prompted the evacuation of 140 others.

Fire officials said the blaze was 30 percent contained Saturday, but 23 homes and 70 outbuildings were still considered threatened.

“We haven’t heard a lot of good news about that yet,” fire information officer Brad Holcomb said Saturday. “It was a strange night weatherwise, but fortunately the fire did seem to stay in place.”

Firefighters benefited from higher humidity and lower temperatures, forecast to stay in the 40s.

Holcomb said some areas of the fire west of Fort Collins in northern Colorado received significant amounts of moisture, while others remained dry.

Stuck in a drought
Colorado, like much of the West, is stuck in a drought with little sign of relief.

An evacuation warning covering 140 homes remained in effect for a third day and residents of an additional 108 homes were placed on alert in the rolling hills 70 miles northwest of Denver.

“Nothing has changed with the evacuations,” Holcomb said. “Bonner Peak and Cherokee Hills are still under evacuation primarily because they didn’t get any precipitation.”

Nearly 400 firefighters worked on the blaze, Colorado’s first significant fire of the season. In Arizona, rain helped firefighters contain a wildfire near Pine at 4,300 acres Friday and another blaze northwest of Gila Bend at 5,700 acres.

In Florida, a 2,500-acre fire on the edge of the Everglades, 20 miles west of Miami, was still not contained Saturday but a shift in wind direction had blown away smoke that closed roads and dropped ash on the Miami metropolitan area the day before.

About 75 people were briefly evacuated as a precaution Friday from a fishing camp and mobile home park.

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