Crews of firefighters initially sent in to fight the Flagstaff Fire on Tuesday had to be withdrawn due to “extreme fire behavior,” Cmdr. Rick Brough of the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office told reporters at a 4:30 p.m. news conference.
He said shifting winds caused firefighters to pull crews out of the area. The fire was moving quickly and aggressively, spotting about a quarter-mile away. About 50 firefighters were at the scene, Brough said.
The 200- to 300-acre fire is being fought primarily with aircraft, in part due to the rugged terrain in which it is burning. Brough said that three Type 1 helicopters, one Type 3 helicopter and one heavy air tanker were on the scene. He added that the fire was moving to the northeast.
Brough said the fire was reported at around 1:15, at the time that thunderstorms were moving through the area. He said lightning is likely the cause.
About 25 residences in the Bison Road area were evacuated, and the National Center for Atmospheric Research was evacuated as a precaution. An overnight shelter/evacuation center, initially located at New Vista High School, has been set up at the East Boulder Community Center, at 5660 Sioux Dr.
Pre-evacuation notices have been sent to more than 2,416 homes in South Boulder. The current boundaries of the pre-evacuation zone zone are Dartmouth Avenue to the north, Greenbriar Boulevard to the south, Table Mesa Drive and foothills on the west and Broadway on the east, according to the Boulder Office of Emergency Management.
As was the case with the 2010 Fourmile Fire, crews are setting up an incident command center at the firefighter training facility near Boulder Reservoir.
A few other fires were sparked by lightning at around the same time, and Brough said all of those had been contained.
For up-to-date information, see www.boulderoem.com.
A call center has been set up to provide residents with up-to-date information about the fire and evacuations, according to the Boulder Office of Emergency Management. The phone number is 303-413-7730.