AGUILAR, Colo. - Wind-whipped wildfires destroyed at least five houses in southern Colorado and forced the evacuation of several hundred residents Sunday, authorities said.

Two fires had burned over 5,400 acres in Huerfano and Las Animas counties, not far from the New Mexico line. One of them had started as a controlled burn earlier in the week that flared up again despite efforts to keep it down.

Wind gusting up to 50 mph prevented authorities from using airplanes to drop slurry on the fires, said Pam Martinez of the Huerfano County Sheriff's office.

Firefighters were investigating the extent of the damage, and watching for more flareups. The land around Aguilar, a town of about 1,000 residents, is covered with sagebrush and grass, and the nearby hills are dotted with pinon and ponderosa pine.

"This just points out that we are very dry in Colorado even though it's winter," said Barb Timock, a U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman. "No matter where we are in Colorado, but especially along the Front Range, we ought to be thinking about being extremely careful with fires outdoors."

Drought conditions and gusting wind have spread dozens of wildfires across, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico over the past two weeks. At least 475 homes have been destroyed by the winter blazes and five people have been killed.

In Oklahoma, high wind and unseasonably, warm temperatures created prime conditions again Sunday for grass fires.

Firefighters in southern Oklahoma were trying taming one wildfire that had already charred about 900 acres near Coalgate, said Richard Reuse, a spokesman for a state command center.

"The big problem today is going to be an expected wind shift coming in from the north," he said Sunday. "If firefighters aren't aware of the wind shift while they're putting out a fire, it could get really dangerous for them."

In Texas, more than 60 wildfires were reported across the state, but most were only a few dozen acres in size. Burn bans and more firefighting resources, such as aircraft and equipment, have helped firefighters get the blazes under control, said Forest Service fire information officer Jim Caldwell.