Resident: Trees In Sunshine Fire Would ‘Ignite Like A Rocket’

By Tom Mustin

BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – Boulder residents on Monday returned to their homes for the first time since the Sunshine Fire erupted Sunday morning.

“You could see flames shooting up in the air. Whenever a pine or a spruce tree would go up it would just ignite like a rocket,” resident Fred Moore said.

sunshine fire 21 Resident: Trees In Sunshine Fire Would Ignite Like A Rocket

(credit: CBS)

Fueled by strong winds and summer-like conditions, the fire torched 74 acres. An air attack and 180 firefighters battled the blaze. On Monday firefighters snaked up the smoldering canyon and as Monday evening the fire was 100 percent contained.

Even with evacuation orders lifted, concerns remained.

gettyimages 655270836 Resident: Trees In Sunshine Fire Would Ignite Like A Rocket

(credit: Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

“All fire resources locally right now are designated to this fire, so we’re really concerned about not wanting another one to start given the extreme conditions,” said Boulder County Sheriff Cmdr. Mike Wagner.

PHOTO GALLERY: Sunshine Fire

Melissa Roza received an evacuation notice at 2:30 a.m. Sunday. She packed clothes and her two dogs, Jake and Stella, as the fire moved dangerously close to her Sunshine Canyon home.

“We could see the flames while we were packing, so it was kind of stressful,” Roza said.

sunshine fire 31 Resident: Trees In Sunshine Fire Would Ignite Like A Rocket

(credit: CBS)

Roza has been evacuated four times before but says there’s no place she’d rather live.

“Doesn’t it every make you think about moving somewhere else?” CBS4’s Tom Mustin asked Roza.

“I love it. I feel like Boulder does a real good job of protecting the homes. So even when this has happened in the past I felt like my home was safe,” she replied.

Investigators believe the fire was human-caused near a transient camp. It’s not clear if it was ignited by a campfire.

sunshine fire 5 Resident: Trees In Sunshine Fire Would Ignite Like A Rocket

(credit: CBS)

With dangerous winds and no moisture, Moore is hoping the latest fire is not a preview of coming attractions.

“It’s the driest I’ve seen it in the 30 years I’ve lived here,” Moore said. “It wasn’t like the Fourth of July but it was close. Things were exploding right and left.”

A Red Flag Warning has been issued for the foothills of Larimer County, most of Boulder County, all of Jefferson County and the southwest portion of Douglas County on Monday.

Wildfire Resources

– Visit CBSDenver.com’s Living With Wildfire section.

Wildfire Photo Galleries

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

Tom Mustin is CBS4’s Weekend Anchor. He has been with CBS4 since 2002, and is always looking for great story ideas. Connect with Tom on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @TomCBS4.

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