- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 11, 2020

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - A portion of Interstate 70 remained closed in western Colorado on Tuesday because of a wildfire that broke out along the highway the day before, forcing drivers headed across the state to take long detours through the mountains.

When the fire was reported 5 miles (8 kilometers) east of Glenwood Springs, firefighters found large active flames in the highway’s median before the blaze ran up the north-facing slope, U.S. Forest Service spokesman David Boyd said. The fire had burned nearly 3 square miles (7.8 square kilometers) by Tuesday afternoon, and the rugged terrain was limiting where firefighters could be deployed safely.

The cause of the fire was under investigation. It was not immediately threatening any homes, but fire officials issued evacuation orders for the communities of No Name and Lookout Mountain east of Glenwood Springs.

The fire broke out on a portion of I-70, the state’s main east-west highway, that runs along the Colorado River. Some rafters and their guides were forced from the river, and hikers were also escorted down the trail from Hanging Lake, a popular destination nearby, the Glenwood Springs Post Independent reported.

Some residents elsewhere in Garfield County were forced from their homes because of a 57-square-mile (148-square-kilometer) fire burning north of Grand Junction. It was started July 31 by lightning and is 7 percent contained.

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