Nightly News

Nightly News   |  June 24, 2012

Wildfires rage across West

More than 11,000 residents in Colorado were ordered to evacuate their homes as more than 700 firefighters fought flames. NBC’s Michelle Franzen reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> folks out west are dealing with a weather related emergency of their own. more than 20 major wildfires burning right now, thousands of residents in and around colorado have been ordered to evacuate as a wildfire there grows out of control. dangerously close to their homes. we get the latest from nbc's michelle franzen .

>> reporter: billowing smoke and towering flames surrounded homes today outside colorado springs . hundreds of firefighters battled the waldo canyon fire that scorched more than 2,000 acres and threatening densely populated communities and parks.

>> our primary objective today, structure protection. and continuing to hold the line that will stop the fire from copping down into the mountain shadows area.

>> reporter: the fast moving blaze is one of eight wildfires burning in colorado. the worst fire season in a decade.

>> this isn't something we haven't seen before, but it is unusual to see a fire with this potential.

>> reporter: the biggest, the high park fire just outside ft. collins destroyed nearly 200 homes and displaced hundreds of residents.

>> it's one of those days if we have nothing lost, it's good.

>> reporter: another fire race through a community, destroying 21 homes and cabins.

>> i didn't even think to take my phone and wallet, because the fire was a little further down.

>> reporter: tinder box conditions that continue to stoke fires throughout the west. basically the ingredients for this fire are single digit humidity levels, strong erratic winds, and we have a ridge of high pressure acting like a dome, locking in all this heat.

>> reporter: in utah, near salt lake city , firefighters are starting to get a handle on the so-called dump fire , possibly sparked by target shooters. with the fire season just getting started, residents and crews know they have a long summer ahead. michelle franzen , nbc news.