Dusting of snow helps firefighters battling 2,500-acre wildfire in Colorado

Saturday, April 27th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

BAILEY, Colo. (AP) _ A dusting of snow and cooler temperatures Saturday helped crews battling a 2,500-acre wildfire that has threatened homes and forced residents to evacuate.

The fire about 35 miles southwest of Denver was 50 percent contained, officials said, while about 150 homes remained off-limits to residents. Containment was expected Sunday if favorable weather continued.

``We've had two days of real offensive work on the fire and today will be a third day of favorable weather conditions, adequate resources, and just good, hard firefighting work,'' Forest Service spokesman Dave Steinke said.

Authorities have questioned three teen-agers, who were not identified, and said they may have been smoking behind a high school. They were seen running from the area where the fire began, Park County Sheriff Fred Wegener said.

Two of the teens' families have hired lawyers and invoked the Fifth Amendment, while the third was cooperating.

In central New Mexico, firefighters contained a 300-acre fire in the Magdalena Mountains and were trying to snuff out hot spots. In Arizona, firefighters contained a wildfire that charred 1,120 acres in steep terrain in the Baboquivari Wilderness, about 45 miles southwest of Tucson.

A winter drought has plagued much of the West, leading to an early start to the wildfire season.