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Out of control wildfire keeps thousands from home

An out-of-control wildfire near some of Colorado's most visited tourist sites spread overnight and kept some 6,000 people from their homes.

The fire sent a cloud of smoke nearly 20,000ft into the air above Colorado Springs, shadowing nearby Pikes Peak. Closer to the blaze, trees were twisting from the heat.

The highway that leads up to Pikes Peak has been closed since the fire began on the weekend.

The closures on Pikes Peak, the world's second-most visited mountain after Japan's Mount Fuji, have drawn attention to the fire's negative impact on the tourism industry just at the start of the busy season.


Fire crews called in C-130 military planes, which swooped low through plumes of smoke to dump fire retardant on the flames.

Firefighters on the ground concentrated on the gated upscale subdivision of Cedar Heights, overlooking the Garden of the Gods.

Raging about 80 miles (130 km) south of Denver, the Waldo Canyon fire had initially prompted the evacuation of 11,000 people at the weekend.