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Woman dies in High Park wildfire

Massive Colorado fire burning 20-40 feet per minute

FORT COLLINS, Colo. | June 12, 2012

A woman has died in the massive High Park Fire raging near Fort Collins, Colo., officials said.

Linda Steadman, 62, was found dead in her home in Larimer County, CNN reported Tuesday. "Linda Steadman, mother, grandmother, sister and wife perished in the cabin she loved," the family said in a written statement.

Hundreds of firefighters, aided by air tankers and helicopters, battled the fast-moving fire as it raced across the Colorado Rockies, about 15 miles west of Fort Collins. Flames leaping 15 to 30 feet in the air. The fire is being fueled by dry brush, timber and grasses, officials said. It is growing by 20- to 40 feet a minute and covered some 40,000 acres by Monday night, KUSA-TV, Denver, reported

Officials, however, say they're optimistic cooler temperatures and lighter winds will enable firefighters to make progress in containing the blaze.

As of Monday, 2,600 evacuation order notifications were issued for the area but many residents are refusing to leave, KUSA said. At least 100 homes have been destroyed or severely damaged.

Lightning is suspected as the cause of the fire, which started early Saturday.

In New Mexico, the Little Bear Fire in Ruidoso had grown to 34,651 acres as of Monday. About 35 structures have been destroyed. Fire crews have not been able to contain the blaze.

2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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