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Lime Gulch Fire Forces Closure Of Waterton Canyon

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GALLERIES: COLORADO'S WORST WILDFIRES

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Evacuations remain in place for about 100 homeowners in southern Jefferson County after wildfire that likely started from lightning on Tuesday and flared up intensely on Wednesday.

The Lime Gulch Fire is located in the Buffalo Creek area northeast of the town of Pine and south of Conifer and it’s estimated at about 600 acres. It is burning in rough terrain and grew somewhat on Thursday.

An image of the Lime Gulch Fire on June 20, 2013. (credit: CBS)

An image of the Lime Gulch Fire on June 20, 2013. (credit: CBS)

“All the evacuations went off without a hitch, all the people are accounted for. The good news is it’s a very sparsely populated area so we were able to go door to door to make sure the evacuation was complete and everybody was notified,” Jefferson County Sheriff Ted Mink said.

PHOTO GALLERY: Lime Gulch Fire

Evacuations are in place for a 3 mile radius from Cathedral Spires and no structures are currently in the fire’s path. Pre-evacuation orders are also in place for the Spring Creek Ranch subdivision and for residents in a one mile radius of the intersection of South Pleasant Park Road and Kuehster Road.

Officials closed Waterton Canyon on Thursday morning due to the fire, and there are several road closures in place:

- Intersection of HWY 285 and Foxton Road is only accessible to local residents
– Intersection of Foxton Road and Running Deer is closed
– Intersection of South Platte River and Southwest Platte River (“Two Forks”) is closed
– Intersection of HWY 126 and Buffalo Creek is closed
– In Douglas County, the intersection of HWY 67 and South Platte River is only accessible to local residents and Nighthawk is closed

The fire was fueled by strong and inconsistent winds Wednesday, and the same hot, dry weather pattern that was around Wednesday continues in Colorado for the next several days.

The Lime Gulch Fire on June 19, 2013. (credit: CBS)

The Lime Gulch Fire on June 19, 2013. (credit: CBS)

Red Flag Warnings are posted for central, southern, and western Colorado Thursday and Thursday night. Relative humidity will be in the single digits with gusty winds near 40 mph across western Colorado.

The Lime Gulch Fire is technically outside the warning area, but fire danger remains high for all of the Front Range and foothills. Wind gusts in Jefferson county could hit 25 mph Thursday afternoon.

There was a heavy aerial attack on the fire Wednesday afternoon, with slurry drops by C-130s and helicopter water drops.

RELATED: Aerial Firefighting Teams Respond Quickly

Ground firefighting crews also arrived in a hurry and headed up to battle the fire.

Montana firefighter Steve Gibson arrived in Jefferson County on Wednesday after several days of battling the Black Forest Fire in Colorado Springs.

“I’ll be excited to get back home but I’m also excited to be out here and make a difference,” Gibson told CBS4.

Fire officials said Thursday crews are trying to build containment lines around the fire. The goal is to
keep the fire south of the North Fork South Platte River and west of the South Platte River.”

Large animals that need to be evacuated were taken to the Jefferson County Fairgrounds. Small animals were taken to the Foothills Animal Shelter.

The evacuation center is Evergreen High School.

Wildfire Resources

- Visit CBSDenver.com’s Wildfire Resources section.

- Read recent Wildfire stories.

Wildfire Photo Galleries

- See images from the most destructive wildfires (Black Forest, Waldo Canyon, High Park and Fourmile) and largest wildfire (Hayman) in Colorado history.

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