Crews in Colo. Protecting Homes From Flagstaff Fire

BOULDER, Colo. -- Officials say 250 firefighters are at Boulder's Flagstaff Fire building fire lines and standing by to protect homes.

By midday Wednesday, it appeared as if firefighters had made some progress, digging trench lines around the Devils Thumb neighborhood.

Crews were also constructing a three-quarter mile long fire line near Shanahan Ridge to protect homes in that area, according to Kim Kobel, city of Boulder spokeswoman.

Also, a small amount of rain was falling in the area.

Weather today calls for 15-20 mph winds with gusts of 25 mph. Humidity is 15-20 percent and scattered thunderstorms are possible this afternoon.

The fire is 1.5 miles from the city limits, and had crossed the ridge around 11 a.m. Wednesday.

The Flagstaff Fire started Tuesday afternoon. It is burning in Upper Skunk Canyon, just north and west of the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

Two structure protection groups are being created. One will also be assigned to the Flagstaff area and the other will be assigned to the NCAR area, just in case they are needed.

"Due to weather and terrain, operations will be mostly from the air today," officials from Boulder's Office of Emergency Management said Wednesday.

Aerial firefighting operations will begin at 8 a.m. Seven aircraft will help fight the fire. The air support includes two heavy tankers, two large Type 1 helicopters (heli-tankers) and a smaller Type 3 helicopter, officials said.

They will be very aggressive laying retardant on Wednesday, officials said.

The fire is burning in steep terrain.

The Flagstaff Fire has burned 230 acres according to infrared mapping. The fire is 0 percent contained.

Evacuations

Only the original 28 homes that were evacuated on Tuesday on Flagstaff and Bison drives remain evacuated. Another 2,416 notifications were sent out to city residents near Flagstaff to remain on standby in case the fire changed direction.

A Federal Type 1 team is expected to take over management of the fire. That makes the Flagstaff Fire one of the highest priority fires in the country.

Shelter

An evacuation center is located at East Boulder Community Center, 5660 Sioux Drive. People affected by the fire who need information are encouraged to go to that location. Twelve people stayed there overnight.

All Pets Animal Hospital, 5290 Manhattan Circle, 303-499-5335, is open 24 hours and is accepting small animals. In the case of an evacuation, small animals can be dropped off at All Pets if their owners are unable to take them with them in the case of an evacuation.

Road Closures

Road closures on Flagstaff Road from Baseline up to the 6000 block, and on Bison Drive from the 800 to 5100 block, remain in place.

Getting Information

The Emergency Operations Center has activated a call center for residents and others impacted by the fire to obtain information. The phone number is 303-413-7730.

Residents can also get information on Boulder's Office of Emergency Management website: http://boulderoem.com/emergency-status

Fire Danger Unprecedented

The fire danger is unprecedented, Kobel said.

She said fire officials were so concerned about wildfires that a truck with three firefighters has been patrolling each day from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. to provide a quick response.

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