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Crews at Colo. wildfire get help from air

By Dan Elliott

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, March 24 2011 3:06 a.m. MDT

Firefighters from Standing Rock N.D. gather to hike to the fire line in Golden Gate Canyon during the Indian Gulch fire in Jefferson County, Colo. on Wednesday, March 23, 2011. Crews battling the wildfire burning in the foothills west of Denver got some help from helicopters and planes Wednesday as windy weather diminished. Helicopters were dropping water on the fire that has burned nearly 2 square miles of steep, wooded terrain near Golden. An air crew was flying above the fire and letting firefighters on the ground know of any changes in fire behavior. Winds gusting up to 75 mph Tuesday had grounded air support, but they have since eased.

The Denver Post, Joe Amon, Associated Press

GOLDEN, Colo. — Fire managers are optimistic about getting a handle on a nearly 2-square-mile wildfire in the foothills west of Denver after calmer winds and multiple water drops on the flames.

The fire burning west of Golden and about 15 miles from downtown Denver is about 25 percent contained and fire managers say it could be 80 percent contained by Friday. None of the several hundred homes in the rugged mountains has burned. Evacuation orders for 17 homes have been lifted, although residents have been told to remain ready to leave if the fire flares up.

Nearly 300 firefighters are working on the fire. They've had to battle winds of up to 75 mph and single-digit humidity.

Officials say the fire that started Sunday was human-caused, but they don't how it started.

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