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Texas wildfire destroys 5 homes; 150 evacuated

A wildfire burned at least five homes Thursday in west Texas and forced the evacuation of about 150 residences, the Texas Forest Service said.

The fire had consumed about 50 acres, the agency said. At least one person was treated for breathing problems, city officials said.

"There are still multiple structure fires," said Andrea Goodson, a spokeswoman for the city of Odessa. "It started as a grassfire and we are experiencing 25 mph winds. This is one big fire."

Firefighters were also battling blazes in Colorado and New Mexico.

Snow helps halt Colorado fire
Snow blanketed the foothills and grasslands on a southern Colorado Army post Thursday where a fast-moving wildfire claimed the life of a firefighting pilot earlier in the week. The fire had forced as many as 800 people were forced to leave their homes.

The blaze, which burned across 15 square miles of Fort Carson, was 50 percent contained. Two other fires in the state this week were fully contained Wednesday, including one that killed two firefighters.

The National Weather Service could not say how much snow fell on the Fort Carson fire, but 2 inches had fallen in nearby Colorado Springs, about 60 miles south of Denver.

The fire in Ordway, a farming community about 120 miles southeast of Denver, destroyed at least eight homes and prompted authorities to order all 1,200 residents to evacuate. Two volunteer firefighters died when their fire truck plunged into a ravine while trying to cross a bridge.

A blaze near Carbondale in the western Colorado mountains, about 120 miles west of Denver, damaged two buildings and slightly injured a fisherman. That fire started after high winds exposed an ember from a property owner's controlled burn, the Garfield County Sheriff's Department said.

Carbondale Fire Chief Ron Leach said his department had not issued any burn permits — required for controlled burns — that day. The investigation was continuing, and no one had been charged.

The causes of the other Colorado fires were still under investigation.

Blaze burns in New Mexico
Elsewhere, crews took advantage of precipitation and lower temperatures Thursday to establish fire lines around a blaze that has burned an estimated 650 acres in rugged, steep terrain of the Manzano Mountains in central New Mexico. The fire was 16 percent contained, the U.S. Forest Service said. One person has been hurt and another 150 evacuated their homes today due to a 50-acre wildfire in the Odessa area.

Authorities say the blaze has destroyed at least five homes.

The Texas Forest Service provided several aircraft and bulldozers to fight the fire.

Emergency personnel in Odessa treated one person for breathing problems, but no one has been transported to hospitals.

Authorities say strong winds have fed the flames.

Lewis Kearney with the Texas Forest Service says an unknown number of outbuildings have been destroyed. He says the fire is threatening about 110 homes.