Meteor reports ground Colo. firefighting planes

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Associated Press

Posted on June 20, 2012 at 11:01 PM

Updated Thursday, Jun 21 at 12:01 AM

BELLVUE, Colo. (AP) — Authorities temporarily grounded firefighting aircraft battling an out-of-control blaze scorching central Colorado on Wednesday, reacting with caution to witness reports of meteor sightings.

The temporary move came amid several reported sky sightings near the fire burning 1,100 acres, or nearly 2 square miles, west of Colorado Springs.

The Colorado sightings corresponded with reports of a possible meteor filed by the crews of two commercial aircraft over Liberal, Kan., according to the National Weather Service. Other sky sightings were reported in Raton, N.M.

A spokesman with the Federal Aviation Administration said he had no such reports. He also said there were no reported disruptions to commercial airline traffic.

Fire officials ordered four single-engine aircraft to stay on the ground as a precaution. Two heavy air tankers were also affected. The planes soon resumed their attack on the fire.

The groundings came as firefighters were taking advantage of a break in the heat to ramp up their attack against wildfire burning on more than 100 square miles in the northern part of the state.

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APPHOTO COEA109: A burnt cactus stands near a home that was destroyed by the High Park Wildfire are pictured during a tour by fire officials in Poudre Canyon west of Fort Collins, Colo., on Wednesday, June 20, 2012. Areas with other homes destroyed were not included in the tour. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski) (20 Jun 2012)

<<APPHOTO COEA109 (06/20/12)>>

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