Large area north of Boulder evacuated because of raging Cal-Wood fire

Colorado News
The Cal-Wood fire burns in Boulder County on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. (Steve Peterson, Special to The Colorado Sun)

BOULDER — A massive area north and northwest of Boulder has been evacuated Saturday evening because of the raging Cal-Wood fire, which quickly swept down from Jamestown into the U.S. 36 corridor south of Lyons.

A large smoke plume was visible from Denver. Flames could be seen towering over Boulder

Among the areas that have been evacuated are Jamestown, Altona, some of Hygiene, and homes in Lefthand Canyon and along Colorado 7 west of Lyons. Areas as far east as the Lagerman Agricultural Preserve are also under evacuation orders.

Jean and Dixon King, who have lived in Jamestown for 46 years, fled the fire, which began about 12:30 p.m. near the Cal-Wood Education Center. They were at an evacuation center in Boulder.

“We expect this,” said Jean, who recalled fleeing another blaze in 2003.

Jean uses a wheelchair and Dixon uses a walker. Yet they managed to get their car loaded with their essentials — including medication, computers, legal documents and hearing aids — before fleeing.

They also took with them a 100-year-old clock named Ethel, a picture of their daughter who passed away in 2005 and two paintings done by family members.

By the time a neighbor came over to see if they needed help, they were ready to leave.

“We’re both handicapped,” Jean said, “and we still did it.”

There haven’t been confirmed reports of homes consumed by the fire, but flames were approaching subdivisions north of Boulder.

Flames crest over a ridge as the Cal-Wood fire burns east toward Boulder on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. (Lucy Haggard, The Colorado Sun)

Carrie Haverfield, spokeswoman for the Boulder Office of Emergency Management, said the fire has crossed U.S. 36. She said more resources are headed to help fight the blaze.

Haverfield said the fire has been very fast moving and that authorities are doing everything they can to get people out of its way.

The fire was driven by fierce winds, dry conditions and warm temperatures on Saturday. Authorities have not said what caused it to ignite.

The Rocky Mountain Area Coordination Center said the fire is “growing fast.” It was directing five large air tankers to fight the blaze. The RMACC said homes were nearby.

The smoke plume was so dramatic that people in and around Boulder flooded to vantage sites to watch it burn.

People watch the Cal-Wood fire burn from Boulder on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. (Lucy Haggard, The Colorado Sun)

At an evacuation center set up at Iris Avenue and Broadway in Boulder, community members offering aid appeared to outnumber evacuees.

James Duncan, who’s lived in Boulder for ten years, headed to the evacuation center to see how he could help.

“It’s not too hard to look over and see the plumes,” Duncan said. “It was just a couple weeks ago that my friend and I took a drive up there. And we were just thinking how beautiful it is — and for the number of properties, how vulnerable they are. My heart goes out to the people having this is as the traumatic day that changes their lives.”

Boulder County Emergency Management, however, was asking people to stay away.

“Please do NOT show up to spontaneously volunteer or donate supplies at any areas,” the agency said on Twitter, “particularly at the evacuation point in Boulder. We need to maintain space and order at the location for the families who have evacuated.”

The Colorado Department of Transportation was also asking motorists to stay away from Boulder and Larimer counties as to keep roads open for emergency responders.

Colorado has been enduring several months of wildfires. The Cameron Peak fire, west of Fort Collins, continues to rage. This week, it became the largest recorded wildfire in state history.

Over the summer, wildfires on the Western Slope scorches hundreds of thousands of acres.

On Thursday, the U.S. Drought Monitor announced that all of Colorado is under drought status for the first time since 2013.

Rising Sun

Our articles are free to read, but not free to report

Support local journalism around the state.
Become a member of The Colorado Sun today!

$5/month

$20/month

$100/month

One-time Contribution

The latest from The Sun

  • Large area north of Boulder evacuated because of raging Cal-Wood fire
  • Cal-Wood fire ignites in Boulder County; winds fuel more Cameron Peak fire growth
  • On-duty Commerce City police officer, civilian killed in three-vehicle crash
  • What’s Working: Unemployment backlogs, backdates and overpayments in Colorado
  • Colorado author Melissa Payne drew on her work experience to create a lost teen named Star

via Straight News https://coloradosun.com/2020/10/17/cal-wood-fire-boulder-updates/

Leave a Reply