COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (AP) - Firefighters have at least temporarily battled to a "draw" a fast-moving fire that has already killed two people and destroyed 379 homes, giving weary authorities and residents the first glimmer of hope after three days of mounting damage, a sheriff said.
After nearly doubling in size overnight, the fire held at about 25 square miles (65 sq km) on Thursday despite more swirling winds and bone-dry conditions, said El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa. "If it was a draw, then that was a victory today," sheriff Maketa said, "because we haven't had many draws lately".
Little more than 36 hours after it started in the Black Forest area northeast of Colorado Springs, the blaze surpassed last June's Waldo Canyon fire as the most destructive in state history. That blaze burned 347 homes and killed two people.
Sheriff Maketa said crews on Thursday found the remains of two people who appeared to be trying to flee. The victims were found in a garage in Black Forest and apparently died in the first hours after the fire ignited on Tuesday afternoon. "The car doors were open as if they were loading or grabbing last-minute things," sheriff Maketa said.
Earlier on Thursday, residents were ordered to leave 1,000 homes in Colorado Springs. Thursday's evacuation was the first within the city limits. About 38,000 other people living across roughly 70 square miles were already under orders to get out.
Colorado's second-largest city, with a population of 430,000, also asked residents of 2,000 more homes to be ready to evacuate.