Federal fire crews have taken over the effort to fight a raging wildfire that has killed an elderly couple and destroyed dozens of homes outside Denver, the Associated Press reports.

View Photo Gallery: Two people were found dead in an area struck by a wildfire that has destroyed 16 homes and forced hundreds to flee the mountainous area southwest of Denver, authorities said.

A team of search and rescue experts is also looking for a woman reported missing by her husband, according to the Denver Post. But whether the team can get inside the fire zone depends on the wildfire’s behavior.

Authorities “failed to gain much, if any, control over the fast-moving fire Tuesday,” and had still not contained it Wednesday, writes the Denver Post. The fire has swept over 4,500 acres, and thousands of residents have been alerted to evacuate their homes.

Watch video of the fire from the AP:

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issued tips Tuesday from its Twitter feed for what to do in a wildfire:

#Wildfire #safetytip: If fire approaches your home, remove items that burn easily like wood piles, lawn furniture & bbq grills.

— FEMA (@fema) March 27, 2012

The wildfires may be especially intense this season because this year’s winter weather was much warmer than usual, and precipitation was low, the Colorado Springs Gazette reports.

According to the National Weather Service, a normal March in Colorado Springs would bring 0.82 inches of precipitation; as of Monday, the city had received just 0.06.