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Winds Fan Colorado Brush Fire

Winds whipped up flames Mnday in Colorado, fanning the first big fire of the season. The fire began Sunday afternoon in Douglas County.

About 100 firefighters battled the blaze, which has been estimated to have burned through more than 2,000 acres. The forest service has called in air tankers from Arizona to drop fire retardant on the blaze. Another 280 firefighters from around the region are reportedly en route to fight the fire, which is being driven by winds clocked at up to 45 mph.

Authorities are evacuating residents and campers near the fire that started almost two years to the day from the outbreak of the disastrous Buffalo Creek fire a few miles to the north.

Residents from 18 homes were evacuated Sunday, but were allowed to return at night, officials said. About 30 campers had to leave.

The Buffalo Creek fire started on May 18, 1996, and burned about 12,000 acres in the Pike National Forest, 26 miles southwest of Denver. No one was hurt but nine homes were destroyed and officials said it would be 100 years before the area recovered. That fire was started by a smoldering campfire left by a group of teen-agers on a school outing.

The cause of the fire was not immediately known, but officials said the dry weather of recent weeks makes fire danger very high.