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High Park Fire: Colorado wildfire now 60% contained

Colorado firefighters have made progress battling a 68,200-acre wildfire near Fort Collins.

Wildfire 2012 06 21Enlarge
Smoke from the High Park Fire rises from the hillside looking west along Colorado State Highway 14 on June 11, 2012. (Marc Piscotty/Getty Images)

Colorado firefighters have made some progress battling a 68,200-acre wildfire near Fort Collins that was sparked by lightening on June 9, the Denver Post reported.

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The fire is about 60 percent contained as of this afternoon, USDA Under Secretary Harris Sherman, of Natural Resources and Environment, said, according to the Denver Post.

Residents who’d been evacuated from Poudre Park, Colo., were allowed to return to their homes today, CBS News reported. Officials warned that the region could be evacuated again if the blaze picked up.

“I’m optimistic that after tonight’s operational period or tomorrow’s operational period that we’ll have a fair amount of additional containment,” Incident Commander Bill Hahnenberg, said this morning, according to CBS News. “We are making progress. Yesterday was much better. We did have a good opportunity with weather yesterday and today is pretty good as well.”

Almost 2,000 firefighters are battling the fire, USA Today reported. They are focusing on keeping unburned patches within the burn area from igniting.

Officials deployed 18 helicopters and 135 fire engines to tackle the blaze today, the Denver Post reported. The cost of fighting the wildfire has risen to nearly $20 million, according to USA Today.

The fire killed a 62-year-old woman and has destroyed at least 189 houses, the Denver Post reported.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120621/high-park-fire-colorado-wildfire-evacuation-contained