DENVER, COLORADO (BNO NEWS) -- Wildfires fueled by high temperatures and wind gusts burned out of control in northern Colorado on Sunday, burning more than 14,000 acres (5,600 hectares) and forcing hundreds of people to flee their homes, officials said. One person is unaccounted-for.
The High Park Fire, which is burning in Larimer County, approximately 15 miles (24 kilometers) west of Fort Collins, broke out at 5:54 a.m. local time Saturday morning and had scorched some 22 square miles (57 square kilometers) in just over 24 hours. The fire remains 0 percent contained, according to Larimer Sheriff's Department spokesman John Schulz.
The fire is being fanned by temperatures rising above 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius) and 15 to 20 mile (24 to 32 kilometers) per hour winds, with gusts up to 40 mile (64 kilometers) per hour. "The wind is driving the fire and at time is capable of moving at 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) per hour," Schulz said.
Nearly 2,000 emergency notices were sent out to residents in several areas by late Sunday, but it remained unclear how many people have evacuated the affected area. "Evacuations have gone well for the most part," the spokesman said, adding that some residents refused to leave.
At least 19 structures, including homes and outbuildings, have been destroyed or damaged by the raging wildfires, and several others continue to be at risk. "In addition to the main priority of public and firefighter safety, there was some success in structure protection today, including one residence that was on fire and was saved by firefighters," Schulz said.
There were no reports of casualties as of Sunday evening, but at least one resident is believed to be missing and may have been killed. "Right now we have a single person that we still can't account for in a location that we believe [is where] someone could have burned," Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith told a news conference.
Eight 20-person crews and other firefighters were continuing to battle the fire on Sunday, but little progress was made. They were being assisted by more than a dozen aircraft, and more equipment was being called in. "More resources have been ordered including more hand crews, more engines, and more aircraft," Schulz said. "Requests for aircraft are also being made to the military."
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