October 04, 2016 - 5:40 AM
PUEBLO, Colo. - A wind-whipped wildfire destroyed several structures and forced hundreds of evacuations near a small mountain community in southern Colorado, authorities said Monday.
More than 500 buildings were evacuated throughout the day and into the evening, affecting about 1,250 residents of Beulah, which is southwest of Pueblo. And more residents were warned to be ready to leave if necessary.
No injuries were reported.
The fire, which has destroyed at least seven structures and burned about 4 square miles, started on top of Beulah Hill on the east side of the community Monday afternoon and jumped Colorado Highway 78, The Pueblo Chieftain reported (https://goo.gl/MWZcrk ).
Pueblo County School District officials evacuated Beulah School and bused its students to a middle school. The newspaper reported some children had already learned that their homes had burned down.
A water-carrying helicopter was called from Monument but was diverted to the Fremont County Airport because of high winds, which are making it hard for firefighters to size up and attack the blaze. Gusty winds were expected to keep feeding the fire Monday night.
Pueblo County sheriff's officials have not said what caused the fire about 25 miles southwest of Pueblo.
News from © The Associated Press, 2016