Southern Colorado wildfire grows to 500 acres; highway closed |

Southern Colorado wildfire grows to 500 acres; highway closed

A wildfire in southern Colorado grew to at least 500 acres on Monday, prompting authorities to close a section of U.S. 160 and urge voluntary evacuations of more than 240 homes.

The fire was burning near La Veta Pass about 150 miles south of Denver. No homes were threatened and no injuries were reported, Costilla County sheriff’s dispatcher Oscar Rascon said.

Authorities advised residents of two rural subdivisions, Forbes Wagon Creek Ranch and Forbes Park, to leave on Sunday, but the evacuations were not mandatory.

Forbes Park has 246 houses. The number in Forbes Wagon Creek Ranch was not immediately known.

The Red Cross opened a shelter for evacuees near the town of Fort Garland, but it was being used only by firefighters on Sunday, said agency volunteer Bob Wallace.

The fire was reported at 11:30 a.m. Sunday. The cause was unknown.

More than 50 firefighters were at the scene on Sunday and 150 more were expected Monday. A heavy air tanker and lead plane were dispatched to the fire and smaller air tankers were also available, said Glenn Bartter of the Rocky Mountain Area Coordinating Center.

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