Smoke begins to cover parts of the University of Colorado campus around noon Monday, Sept. 6. The fire was burning in Fourmile Canyon, just west of Boulder. (CU Independent/Rob Denton)
Last updated September 12 at 11:45 a.m.
More than 1,000 firefighters are currently working to battle the 6,427 acre blaze near Gold Hill and more resources have been requested, according to a Boulder County news release. The fire is 73 percent contained, according to officials.
Areas that have been evacuated according to the Boulder Office of Emergency Management include: All homes within a three-mile radius of Gold Hill; the Mountain Meadows subdivision; the Sierra Antigua subdivision; Mountain Meadows and Mountain Pines; Whispering Pines; Mile marker three Sugarloaf to Boulder Canyon; and Lickskillet west to Sawmill.
As of 10 Thursday morning residents in the Boulder Heights, Pine brook Hills and Carriage Heights were allowed to return to their homes, however because of worsening weather conditions they have now been asked to be prepared to leave again under mandatory evacuation by 2 p.m. today, according to the BOEM. Those areas had been closed as of 12:30 on Thursday.
As of 9 a.m. on Friday the following subdivisions are opened again: Pine Brook Hills, Boulder Heights, Carriage Hills, Old Stage Road, Lee Hill Drive, Sunshine Canyon and Fourmile Canyon drives to Poorman Road (including Poorman Road); Gold Hill Road to Switzerland Trail (Switerland Trail remains closed);
Sugarloaf Road with limited access to the north (Mountain Meadows will be open); and Lefthand Canyon Road with restricted access from the south, according to the BOEM.
Power remains off in those areas and residents are encouraged to stay on alert. They will be asked to bring identification and should be ready to re-evacuate if necessary, according to the BOEM.
There are 172 structures which have been confirmed as being destroyed, according to the BOEM. Residents can find a list of the confirmed destroyed homes at the BOEM website. Of those structures 169 are homes. Those structure represent 80 percent of the burn area, according to a Boulder County sheriff’s report.
Boulder County is asking all residents who were evacuated to contact them, according to a news release. More information is available in the news release.
According to a CU news release, CU officials are not concerned about the fire at this time. “The fire is not threatening the University of Colorado campus or the immediate campus environs or central City of Boulder.”
The fire started at approximately 10 Monday morning on Fourmile Canyon Road near Emerson Gulch, according to the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office. At least 3,000 residents have been evacuated, according to the news release.
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Seth Perler lives off of Linden Dr. two miles west of Broadway. Perler said he left his house after receiving a reverse 911 call telling him to evacuate.
“It’s a shame that a historical town [Gold Hill] is going up in flames,” Perler said. “On the one hand, I think it’s tragic about peoples’ homes but on the other hand it’s nature. People change the topography and this is what happens in mountain areas. It can be beneficial.”
He said he forgot to grab his glasses when he left but was not allowed to return for them.
Evan Levine is a Boulder resident who lives off of Magnolia Road. Levine said he was trying to get home after working the holiday and couldn’t.
He said he had been hoping to go for a bike ride this afternoon and instead found the fire.
“I’ve been a geology major at CU so the idea of fire in Boulder County isn’t a shocker,” Levine said. “But one of those things that was bound to happen.”
Open Spaces and Mountain Park Ranger Jerry Katopodes was cordoning off Settler’s Park with police-line tape when the CU Independent met up with him.
Katopodes said the tape was to keep people from biking and hiking into the park.
“We’re closing down the trail heads North of Canyon and keeping people from going to the highest points in case we get some condition changes,” Katopodes said. “We don’t want people hiking the trails to go see it.”
Mark Bush is a Boulder resident who was out biking west of Sugarloaf when the evacuations started.
“They had the whole area evacuate,” Bush said. “People were driving like maniacs. The drivers were scaring me more than the fire. I’m surprised they didn’t close the road earlier.”
Missy Coyne, a 19-year-old junior speech language and hearing sciences major, said she planned to leave for Denver this evening but is now leaving earlier.
“I was supposed to go home to Denver for dinner anyway, but my mom called and told me I should leave earlier because she’s worried,” Coyne said. “So now she has me freaking out.”
Coyne who said she lives at 18th and Canyon and has not been able to stop sneezing all morning, despite having her windows closed.
Boulder County Public Health has issued an advisory which encourages Boulder residents to keep windows and doors shut as “smoke from wildfires is a mixture of gases and fine particles from burning trees and other plant materials. Smoke can hurt your eyes, irritate your respiratory system, and worsen chronic heart and lung diseases. When smoke levels are high enough, even healthy people may experience some of these symptoms.”
According to the BOEM website, the Coors Event Center will no longer serve as a shelter as of 5 p.m. Tuesday evening. At 4 p.m., a shelter will open at the Boulder YMCA, located at 2850 Mapleton Ave.
A community meeting will be held at 7:30 tonight at the Coors Event Center. The meeting is intended to inform residents about the initial response to the fire, ongoing firefighting activities, and to provide resources through the Red Cross such as victim advocates, insurance and emergency shelter information, according to the news release.
The CU Independent will update this story as more information becomes available.
Contact CU Independent Breaking News Editor Ellie Bean at Beanee@colorado.edu.
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