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Colorado wildfire forces thousands to evacuate in western US

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The flames have destroyed homes and forced owners to leave
The flames have destroyed homes and forced owners to leave   -   Copyright  AFP
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In the US, thousands of people are being forced to move from their homes as a huge wildfire continues to sweep across parts of Colorado state.

The Cameron Peak Fire, the largest recorded in the state's history, has burned through almost 90,000 hectares so far, destroying large areas of forest and everything else in its path, including many homes.

Many of the evacuations have been mandatory, others have left voluntarily over fears for their own safety.

The US Forest Service said the blaze, located west of Fort Collins, thrived as gusty winds blew in ahead of a cold front after a prolonged dry period.

Investigators have not determined what caused the fire, which started on August 13.

Snowed temporarily halted the firefighting progress several times but this had little long-term impact on the efforts, said Cass Cairns, a multi-agency spokeswoman for the incident.

The fire season in Colorado usually ends in September, Cairns added. Ski resorts often start opening in October, but this year some will contend with the Cameron Peak Fire.

Experts have said this year's record fires in the western US are linked to climate change.