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Published June 20, 2012, 01:00 PM

Public to get first close look at big Colorado wildfire

DENVER (AP) — The public is getting its first close-up look at the damage from a massive northern Colorado wildfire, 11 days after it started.

By: DAN ELLIOTT,Associated Press, Associated Press

DENVER (AP) — The public is getting its first close-up look at the damage from a massive northern Colorado wildfire, 11 days after it started.

The Larimer County Sheriff's Department will escort reporters, photographers and TV crews into part of the fire zone on Wednesday.

Until now, Sheriff Justin Smith had barred journalists from areas that had been evacuated, citing safety concerns and the privacy of fire victims.

Smith has said the residents should have the chance to see their homes before the general public.

It wasn't immediately clear why the sheriff agreed to allow media access.

The fire has charred more than 100 square miles and destroyed at least 189 homes.

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