USA — A 134-acre wildfire burning in Boulder Canyon, near the city limits, forced hundreds of people in several subdivisions to evacuate.
“There are no estimates of containment,” said Cmdr. Rick Brough of Boulder County Sheriff’s Office.
He said no structures have been lost or damaged as a result of the fires.
“We’re still doing structure protection — putting firefighters and vehicles around structures that could be threatened,” he told reporters during a 4 p.m. news conference.
Mandatory evacuations will remain in place throughout the night, until further notice, officials said.
Brough said a single-seat air tanker and heavy air tanker would continue to fly and make retardant drops until dark Friday.
The first calls ordering people to evacuate went to 181 phone numbers in the Boulder Canyon area, according to Boulder officials. A second evacuation order went to an estimated 1,700 people and 800 units within the city limits at 10:35 a.m.
The evacuations are for:
* Canon Park subdivision, base of Boulder Canyon * Mouth of Sunshine Canyon up to Poorman Road, including Seven Hills subdivision and those on Anemone Road * Knollwood subdivision * The Boulder city neighborhoods under evacuation orders are in the boundaries of Canyon Boulevard on the south to North Street on the north, from the fire location on the west to 7th Street on the east. * The City of Boulder ordered additional evacuations between 7th and North streets. * Boulder Community Hospital’s Mapleton and Maxwell facilities were evacuated at 11:30 a.m. No patients should come to the either outpatient facility. There are
evacuations scheduled at this time for Boulder Community Hospital on North Broadway.
Evacuees from the affected areas are asked to report to the Coors Events Center on the campus of the University of Colorado. Boulder County said no donations are needed as a result of the fire. The Red Cross and other agencies will be there to help.
“We’ve got food, water, cots, blankets, there’s people from the Red Cross who can help you get your medication if you need it and get those things refilled that you had to leave behind in your homes. So, we’re a fully provisioned evacuation center and it’s up and running,” said Bronson Hilliard, CU-Boulder spokesman.
Highway 119 westbound was closed at 6th Street in Boulder when the fire initially blew up from several hundred yards to 10 acres. The highway reopened at 12:30 p.m.
The fire started at approximately 8:10 a.m. near the 40,000 block of Boulder Canyon, according to the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office. The cause of the fire is not yet known.
Initial responders said they observed a fire on the north side of Boulder Canyon.
The fire near Elephant Buttress is burning over Anemone Hill, according to Eric Stone with Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks.
Xcel Energy said it is continuing to work with fire officials to respond to the Dome Fire in Boulder County to ensure customer safety.
Xcel Energy cut power to 62 customers in the Seven Hills area Friday morning after they were ordered to evacuate. Due to the proximity of the fire to transmission lines, Xcel Energy had to reroute power from two facilities, resulting in power outages for about 10,000 customers. Those customers were restored by 1:05 p.m.
The Seven Hills area was still without power Friday afternoon.
Additionally, power and natural gas to the Knollwood subdivision will be turned off, due to the proximity of the fire. This will affect about 94 customers in an area from Sunshine Canyon Drive and Mapleton Avenue to the north, Pearl Street to the south, 3rd Street to the east, and Knollwood Drive to the west.
Xcel Energy will continue to coordinate efforts with firefighters as they work to contain the wildfires. This includes de-energizing areas where firefighters will conduct back burn operations. Xcel Energy is not anticipating any wide-spread outages due to this effort but stresses the immediate areas that would be de-energized will experience power outages. At this time, no such request has been made by the incident commanders.
The Fire Start
Boulder resident Henry Koren told 7NEWS he was leaving for work around 8:15 a.m. when he noticed that there was a lot of smoke outside. He hiked over the ridge to take pictures of the flames. Koren said he then went back home to pack up his important documents, and was on the roof, watering it down whe his water and power were cut off at about 11:15 a.m.
Initially, Boulder County officials said there were two fires, located about a 1/4 mile west of Boulder Canyon. The original fire was about 20 acres at 11:50 a.m. and the second fire, which was about one acre at 9:45 a.m., was started from an ember blown from the first fire, according to the sheriff’s office.
The fire was moving in a northerly direction being driven by winds in the area. Winds are high and a fire weather warning has been issued for the area, which means the weather is favorable for quick fire spread, as a result of gusty winds a low humidities.
12 Agencies, Air Tankers Fighting Blaze
About 180 firefighters from Four Mile Fire Protection District, Boulder Rural, City of Boulder Fire, Sugarloaf, Lefthand, Mountain View, Jamestown, City of Boulder and Boulder County Sheriff are battling the blaze. The number was expected to grow to 200, officials said.
A single-engine tanker was the first to drop retardant on the fire. A heavy tanker from Grand Junction arrived at noon to help. A second heavy air tanker was ordered from Foxfield, Calif., but was turned around after it was determined only one heavy air tanker was needed.
The tankers made 20 to 25 drops of water and retardant by 4 p.m.,” Cmdr. Brough said.
“We have resources that are adequate for the time being,” said Michelle Kelly, incident command public information officer for the combined firefighting team.
Boulder County Public Health issued a health advisory in response to fire. It said in general, if you can see or smell smoke, it is recommended that you avoid outdoor physical activities. If visibility is decreased in your neighborhood to less than five miles, officials said smoke has reached levels that are unhealthy.
Children and older adults are more likely to be affected by the smoke. Children are affected because their airways are still developing and because they breathe more air per pound of body weight than adults. Older adults are affected because they have higher levels of heart or lung diseases than younger people.
Boulder Closures Because Of Fire
Boulder Open Space Park officials have closed the Sanitas Area, Settlers Park/Red Rocks Area, Flagstaff Mountain Summit and Centennial Park.
The following city facilities or programs are closing or being canceled due to the Dome Fire burning west of Boulder:
* Boulder Public Library Main Branch will close at 1:30 p.m. today due to anticipated power outages. All other branches will remain open. * All regularly scheduled and daily drop-in youth and adult classes at the North Boulder Recreation Center have been cancelled due to health concerns about the smoke. The recreation center will be open for walk-in fitness and swimming until further notice. * All downtown city offices closed at 12:30 p.m. today due to anticipated rolling power outages. * Municipal Court in the Boulder County Justice Center at 6th Street and Canyon Blvd. has closed. * West Senior Center at 909 Arapahoe Ave., the Children, Youth, and Families at 2610 Spruce St., the Carnegie Branch Library at 1125 Pine St., the Iris Center and studio at 3198 Broadway and the Salberg Center at 19th and Elder have closed due to the Dome Fire and related power outages. * Power outages are expected to affect several schools, but officials told 7NEWS, the school will still dismiss at the regular times. The schools are: Boulder and New Vista high schools, Nederland Middle/Senior High, Casey Middle School, Columbine, Flatirons, Foothill, Gold Hill, Jamestown, Nederland, University Hill and Whittier elementary schools. The schools still have telephone service. Students of families living in evacuated areas will be held at their school for parent pick up.
CU-Boulder Police texted students at 10:25 a.m. telling them “Fire approx. 2 miles west of Boulder; no threat to campus.”
The Humane Society of Boulder Valley is providing temporary shelter for dogs, cats and small mammals of people displaced from their homes due to the fire.
Anyone who has been evacuated and needs temporary housing for their dog, cat or small mammal should bring the animal to the shelter at 2323 55th Street in Boulder during our business hours. The shelter will open Friday until 9 p.m.
Residents in the evacuation area who need help with removing pets from their homes can call 720-564-2942 and animal control officers will assist them.