Nightly News | June 24, 2012
>>> 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.