| Tue Mar 7, 2017 | 1:07am EST Colorado wildfire burns 30,000 acres, destroys homes By Keith Coffman | DENVER DENVER A wind-driven wildfire erupted on the eastern plains of Colorado on Monday, scorching 30,000 acres of grassland, prompting the temporary evacuation of a small farming town and destroying at least three homes, emergency officials said. The fire erupted around midday east of the town of Sterling and quickly grew out of control as gale-force winds fanned the flames, said Marilee Johnson, spokeswoman for the Logan County Office of Emergency Management. Mandatory evacuations were lifted for the town of Haxtun late in the afternoon but some 900 homes remain threatened and those residents have been warned to prepare to flee should shifting winds drive flames their way, she said. The 30,000-acre fire was 50 percent contained, the Logan County Office of Emergency Management said in a statement. No injuries have been reported but look what i found three homes and a fourth structure were burned to the ground.The cause of the fire was unknown. Footage from a Denver television station showed rows of hay bales in the agricultural area consumed by flames. More than 70 firefighters from 13 agencies were battling the blaze, emergency managers said. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issued an air quality alert due to smoke and dust kicked up by the winds, warning residents to stay indoors. "This is especially true for those with heart disease, respiratory illnesses, the very young and the elderly," the health department said in a statement. Interstate 76 was temporarily closed due to smoke and blowing dust but some county roads remained closed by nightfall, the state emergency operations center said.