(DENVER) — Firefighters in New Mexico and Colorado are battling wildfires that have spread quickly in all directions, forcing hundreds to flee from their homes across both states.
In Colorado, at least 18 structures — including homes — have been destroyed, with one person missing and feared dead, according to authorities. In just two days, flames have torched over 30 square miles.
“If you talk about worst-case scenario, this is our worst-case scenario,” Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith said.
Hundreds of residents have been evacuated ahead of the flames. Authorities sent at least 2,575 evacuation notices, but it wasn’t clear how many residents had to leave, according to ABC News affiliate KMGH in Denver.
Some residents claim they didn’t receive any notice and their only warning was hearing the fire coming toward their doorsteps.
“It was terrible. It sounded like a hurricane,” said Sandra Mullen, according to KMGH. “I think everything will be gone. My husband is 78 and I’m 75, so when you’re that old, it’s too hard to start over.”
“It looked like Armageddon,” said resident Joanne Hertz. “I have absolutely no clue if my house is still standing.”
Resources are spread thin in Larimer County as other western states need tankers, helicopters and ground crews to battle their own wildfires, sheriff’s spokesman Nick Christensen told KMGH.
In New Mexico, a destructive fire near Ruidoso tripled in size over the weekend and destroyed 40 buildings. Crews were working to build a fire line around the blaze, which started Friday.
The exact number of evacuations is not known, but they were reported to be in the hundreds.
Winds and dry air continue to fuel the burning fires — everything needed for a perfect firestorm.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Debra Goldschmidt, CNN
Jackie Wattles and Amanda Barnett, CNN
Mariel Turner, Kacey Montoya & Nerissa Knight, KTLA
Kevin Conlon, Euan McKirdy and Johanzynn Gatewood, CNN