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Colorado Springs Restricts Fires

April 21, 2006

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) _ With an unusually high number of grass fires already this season, city officials have issued fire restrictions and advised residents to prepare evacuation plans.

The city urged residents Thursday to gather important items and 72 hours worth of medication and plan at least two escape routes from their neighborhoods in case of traffic jams.

``I’m not trying to scare the public, but I’m trying to be realistic,″ said Brett Lacey, fire marshal. ``If we’re going to pick a year, this could be it.″

Fire officials announced earlier this week that the wildfire season in the U.S. this year could be one of the worst ever, with 2.15 million acres already burned nationwide this spring _ more than five times the average.

Officials in Colorado Springs said that, through Wednesday, there had been 88 grass fires in the city, compared with 30 during the same period last year.

Fire restrictions include no smoking except within an enclosed vehicle or building or in an area clear of any combustible materials.

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