USA — DENVER (AP) A wind-driven wildfire broke out in rugged foothills and quickly spread across more than five square miles on Monday, destroying an unknown number of homes and leading to the evacuation of a thousand others.
Winds up to 45 miles an hour helped the blaze spread quickly in foothills outside Boulder.
No injuries were reported. The authorities could not say how many structures had burned, but they said at least some were houses. Four belonged to firefighters, a fire management team spokeswoman said.
The fire started in Fourmile Canyon, northwest of Boulder, and erratic winds gusting to 45 miles an hour spread the flames to the west and the northeast.At least four roads were closed, and a billowing, white plume of heavy smoke was visible for miles. The cause of the fire was unknown. Late in the day, winds subsided enough that aerial tankers were able to begin dropping fire retardant. Cmdr. Rick Brough of the Boulder County Sheriffs Office said the fire had moved quickly through rugged country. Its very rocky, hilly, mountainous terrain, he said.
About 200 homes scattered in and near the canyon were evacuated earlier in the day. The authorities said residents of seven subdivisions had been ordered to evacuate by Monday night. They included at least 200 homes, but the total was not immediately known.
The Boulder County Emergency Management Office said the countys telephone alert system was not working properly and advised residents in the evacuation areas to leave rather than waiting for a call from the authorities.
At least 100 buildings were threatened, and one fire vehicle was destroyed, said Patrick von Keyserling, a spokesman for the emergency management office.
Three evacuation centers were set up in Boulder and in the mountain village of Nederland, and at least 65 people had checked in at the three centers by midafternoon. A shelter for livestock was set up at the Boulder County Fairgrounds in Longmont.