Firefighters Continue Battle Near Evergreen
GALLERIES: COLORADO'S WORST WILDFIRES
EVERGREEN, Colo. (CBS4/AP) – About 140 residents remain evacuated while firefighters battle a blaze near Evergreen.
The fire broke out Monday afternoon on the property of 33528 Bluebell Circle. So far no structures have burned. Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Jacki Kelley said Tuesday the fire still threatens about 100 homes in the foothills west of Denver.
Authorities say the fire burned about 15 acres after it broke out on Monday, but no homes have been destroyed and no injuries have been reported.
The fire did not lay down overnight like they were hoping and it was very hot and active. There was active firefighting overnight. Kelley said they were “surprised” by the fire behavior overnight.
They do have a containment line around the fire but they are not comfortable with it and they’ll be working on it Tuesday. They want a big line so it will hold the fire if the flames get to the line.
Winds are expected to pick up from noon to 3 p.m.
A Level 3 evacuation was issued to residents within four miles of Bluebell Circle on Monday. They were told to leave their homes immediately. Evacuees were told to go to Conifer High School.
At an 8 p.m. news conference Monday Kelley said most of the residents were being allowed back in their homes but she said they need to get things in order and be ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice on Tuesday.
“Level 3 means, ‘Get out now. You don’t have time to pack your stuff, get your collectables and your important papers. You need to go,’ ” Mark Techmeyer with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said. “That’s the highest evacuation level we have.”
VIDEO: Bluebell News Conference
It isn’t known exactly how many people were affected. Sheriff’s officials say they sent about 9,900 emergency calls, but some homes receive multiple calls to different phone numbers.
Sheriff’s officials in neighboring Clear Creek County said some homes lost power, and they went going door to door to evacuate some homes.
Residents should evacuate large animals to the fairgrounds and small animals to Foothills Animal Shelter.
PHOTO GALLERY: Bluebell Fire
One helicopter was dropping water on the scene from the air. A single-engine air tanker (SEAT) was also helping fight the fire.
Techmeyer said they know the point of origin of the fire but still don’t know what caused it.
Smoke from the fire could be seen from miles away.
Evergreen is in the foothills about 30 miles west of Denver.
In March 2012, a wildfire caused by a prescribed burn that went out of control killed three Jefferson County residents, destroyed or damaged 27 houses, and charred about 2 square miles.
That fire exposed weaknesses in an emergency alert system, and sheriff’s officials concluded that about 12 percent of the people authorities intended to notify didn’t get a warning.
Jefferson County sheriff’s officials said they used a new system to send emergency calls to residents this time.
Fire danger is currently high to extreme in parts of Colorado.
Meanwhile, in southwest Colorado, a 75-acre fire near Creede was 50 percent contained Monday. Fire officials say the blaze threatened three houses, but no structures have been lost. The blaze started Friday on private land. The cause was under investigation.
The forecast in Jefferson County called for a chance of thunderstorms Tuesday afternoon and a chance of rain showers late Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service. There was also a chance of thunderstorms near Creede.
– Visit CBSDenver.com’s Wildfire Resources section.
– Read recent Wildfire stories.
Wildfire Photo Galleries
(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)