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Westerners report green, purple flaming meteor

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (AP) -- Residents in Utah, Colorado and southern Wyoming saw a fireball, which some said had a long tail of green, orange and purple flames that raced across the night sky.

"People said it had a 500-foot tail and it was huge, like a meteor, and green and orange," La Plata County, Colorado, sheriff's dispatcher Kristy Lee said.

The fireball was seen Sunday at 7:30 p.m.

"It was probably a meteor burning up in the atmosphere," said Peter Wilensky, meteorologist with the National Weather Service/Colorado Basin River Forecast Center.

No man-made objects fell from space Sunday night, said Maj. Ed Thomas, a spokesman for the North American Aerospace Defense Command in Colorado Springs, Colorado, which tracks satellites and space debris.

"We don't have a mission to track meteorites, but that's got to be what it is," Thomas said.

The Weber Area Consolidated Dispatch Center in northern Utah received about 50 calls, with some callers saying it looked like a plane that crashed. About 10 officers from three counties responded to the calls and at one point searched for wreckage, said Weber County sheriff's Sgt. Jeff Lasater.

The fireball was spotted in Pueblo, Colorado, about 100 miles south of Denver, and in Rawlins, Wyoming, about 180 miles northwest of Denver.

Copyright 2002 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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