DENVER - A fast-growing wildfire that blew up overnight in Colorado has forced 11,000 people from their homes and was threatening popular summer camping grounds beneath Pikes Peak, billed as the most visited mountain in North America.
Live summit video from the 14,115-foot (4,302-metre) peak on Sunday showed plumes of dark smoke billowing in the air, and a cog railway that ferries tourists up the side of the famous mountain was shut down because of the wildfires.
The blaze in the Pike National Forest, known as the Waldo Canyon Fire, has consumed about 2,500 acres (1,012 hectares) since Saturday and triggered evacuation orders for 11,000 people from Colorado Springs and nearby towns, fire officials said.
"This is a very, very volatile situation," said emergency worker Rob Deyerberg at the fire joint information center.
The blaze was just one of 20 uncontrolled fires raging in U.S. states on Sunday, mostly in the West, stoked by wind and triple digit temperatures in some areas. A fresh blaze in neighboring Utah forced an estimated 2,500 people from their homes in that state, officials said.