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The Latest: Busy wildfire season expected in Colorado

April 13, 2018

BOONE, Colo. (AP) — The Latest on wildfires in Colorado (all times local):

11:20 a.m.

Fire officials are expecting a busy wildfire season in Colorado this year after an abnormally dry winter.

Colorado’s fire management director, Mike Morgan, said Friday that this summer could be the worst wildfire season since the deadly and destructive seasons of 2012 and 2013.

Based on its experience in those years, Gov. John Hickenlooper says the state is better prepared than it ever has been to fight fires. But he’s urging people to do their part by being vigilant and following fire restrictions.

Dry, windy weather has been blamed for several grass fires in Colorado this spring, including one that forced the evacuation of the small town of Boone Thursday.

Last month, a fire ignited by an Army training exercise using live ammunition on Fort Carson spread to private land, destroying two homes. In early April, a wildfire near Grand Junction destroyed at least one home.

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7:40 a.m.

Residents of a small town in southern Colorado can return home as crews continue to contain a wildfire that has scorched about 500 acres (202 hectares).

The Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office lifted the evacuation order for Boone on Thursday night and said the fire was 75 percent contained.

The blaze started Thursday afternoon and forced the evacuation of 229 homes. One person was hurt, but authorities haven’t released any information about the incident.

About 100 firefighters from nine agencies were assigned to the fire, which was fueled by wind gusts of 45 mph to 60 mph (72 to 96 kph). No buildings were reported burned.

Boone is about 20 miles (32 kilometers) east of Pueblo.

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