LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – A total of 446 acres of land got blackened Super Bowl Sunday as a wind-whipped fire drove across land and sent people and animals fleeing. Many had to evacuate quickly as the fire burned across parts of Bear Creek Lake Park, Homestead Golf Course and Fox Hollow Golf Course.
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“I got out of the shower and the phone’s ringing. It was an emergency call,” said Norm Haavind, who lives by the second hole of Fox Hollow. “I get an emergency call, I look out the back window and I see smoke. By the time I got downstairs, the policewoman was at the door knocking.”
Norm evacuated along with others. Many went to Bear Creek High School where a temporary shelter was set up. Samantha Lang was there with her mother, wrapped in a towel as the chill came on.
“It’s kind of scary, because you don’t really know what’s happening right now.”
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Firefighters tried to tame the fire, but long lines of flames marched in unison across the golf courses, which have many homes around them. There’s also horse property in the area and volunteers and horse owners quickly got trailers ready.
“Just as I got here, the firefighters were yelling at us from their truck to evacuate, so I ran into the barn, got their halters and started dragging them out,” said horse owner Samantha Yakimow.
The winds tore across the landscape carrying fire, but 100 plus firefighters were able to contain it. It was made worse, said West Metro Fire spokeswoman Ronda Scholting, because of wind and tinder dry conditions.
“When you look at the potential for what this fire could have done, I think it was a very successful day.”
By Sunday evening, as winds died down, people were allowed to return home, with a note of caution to remain in pre-evacuation status because there were more winds expected overnight. But temperatures were plummeting.
Scholting asked anyone who had been near where the fire was first reported in Bear Creek Lake State park at about 1:30 and had seen anything suspicious, to call investigators at (303) 539-9531. They believe the fire was human caused, but don’t know if it was an accident or on purpose. No structures were lost.