In the early afternoon of Aug. 4, West Metro, Col. firefighters were called to the north face of Green Mountain in Lakewood for a vegetation fire. First arriving crews found several acres involved about 200 yards behind a residential area, moving at a slow to moderate rate of spread to the west.
Initially, a large water tank was the only structure threatened, and crews from the state forest service and three mutual aid departments assisted in suppression.
As the fire progressed westward, outflow winds from a passing thunderstorm dramatically increased the rate of spread. The fire began a several hundred acre run directly toward numerous homes.
A mandatory evacuation order was made for the surrounding area. Additional engines and crews were requested for structure protection. Flames came close to one home, and pushed into the backyards of several others. However, only minor structural damage.
Air resources were requested but were grounded for a short time due to the weather.
Ground crews began back burning operations along the residential fence line when a sudden wind change occurred blowing the fire 180 degrees back to the east. A flame front moved very quickly toward additional homes that were thought to be safe earlier in the day.
Homeowners scrambled onto their roof tops and into backyards with garden hoses while engines repositioned. A SEAT & Helicopter were called in to make air drops, one of which painted several homes and vehicles with retardant including a police cruiser and battalion truck.
The fire was declared under control in about six hours into the incident. The fire burned about 300 acres.
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