LAPORTE, Colo. – Firefighters on Sunday were fighting wildfires that have spread quickly in parched forests in Colorado and New Mexico, forcing hundreds of people from their homes and the evacuation of wolves from a sanctuary.

The Colorado fire, burning in a mountainous area about 15 miles west of Fort Collins, grew to 22 square miles within about a day of being reported and has razed or damaged 18 structures.

Strong winds, meanwhile, grounded aircraft fighting a 40-square-mile wildfire near the mountain community of Ruidoso in southern New Mexico.

The blaze, which started Friday, has damaged or destroyed 36 structures. It wasn’t immediately clear how many of the structures lost were homes.

In Colorado, the fire sent up heavy smoke, obscuring the sun. Smoke spread as far away as central Nebraska, western Kansas and Texas.

Dan Ware, a New Mexico State Forestry Division spokesman, said the number of Ruidoso evacuees was in the hundreds, but he didn’t have an exact figure.

In Colorado, authorities sent nearly 1,800 evacuation notices to phone numbers, but it wasn’t clear how many residents had to leave. Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith said there was an unconfirmed report of a person unaccounted for, but he wouldn’t elaborate.

Authorities say it’s the worst fire seen in Larimer County in about 25 years.

The blaze also forced the evacuation of 11 wolves from a sanctuary near the fire. KUSA-TV in Denver reported that 19 wolves remained behind at the sanctuary, which has underground concrete “fire dens” that can be used by the animals.