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Colorado wildfire 'as close to hell as you get'

COOLER temperatures and lighter winds helped firefighters yesterday in the battle against Colorado's Waldo Canyon fire, which has destroyed hundreds of homes and forced more than 35,000 people to flee.

Yesterday marked the first in five days when a so-called red flag warning -- indicating conditions which could increase wildfire activity -- was not being posted in the Colorado Springs area, authorities said.

Despite the weather relief, the Waldo Canyon blaze remained devastating and only 5pc contained, officials said.

Exceptional high temperatures and strong winds have fuelled the blaze, which started on Saturday.

It has already burned 18,500 acres (7,487 hectares) near Colorado Springs, the state's second-largest city.

"There was nothing left in some areas. It looked like a nuclear weapon had been dropped. It's as close to hell as I could imagine," said Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach, who toured the heavily damaged Mountain Shadows subdivision.

Authorities have not released an official count of the number of homes destroyed so far in the blaze but said the figure was in the "hundreds".

Irish Independent