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US fire forces thousands to flee

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Wildfires are threatening the US city of Colorado Springs (AP)

Wildfires are threatening the US city of Colorado Springs (AP)

Wildfires are threatening the US city of Colorado Springs (AP)

More than 32,000 people have been ordered to evacuate after a fast-moving wildfire spread into the American city of Colorado Springs.

Police said there had been no reports of injuries after the fire spread quickly on Tuesday evening into the city.

The Waldo Canyon fire started on June 23 and now covers more than 10 square miles.

Elsewhere in Colorado, another wildfire has destroyed 257 homes and killed one person.

Heavy smoke and ash billowed from the foothills west of the city.

"It was like looking at the worst movie set you could imagine," Governor John Hickenlooper said after flying over the fire. "It's almost surreal."

With flames cresting a ridge high above its campus, an Air Force Academy in the city told more than 2,100 of its residents to evacuate.

Elsewhere, fleeing people covered their faces with T-shirts and bandanas to breathe through the smoke.

Throughout the American West, firefighters have toiled for days in searing, record-setting heat against fires fuelled by prolonged drought. Most, if not all, of Utah, Colorado, Wyoming and Montana were under red flag warnings, meaning extreme fire danger.

In central Utah, authorities found one woman dead when they returned to an evacuated area, marking the first casualty in a blaze that consumed at least two dozen homes.

PA