Firefighters to step up attack on Boulder blaze

BOULDER — Firefighters ramped up their fight today against a 3,500-acre wildfire that has forced about 3,000 people to evacuate and destroyed dozens of homes near Boulder, including some that belonged to firefighters.

Calmer winds were in the forecast and authorities planned to dump two to three times the amount of fire retardant from the air than they did Monday, when gusty winds grounded air tankers for much of the day, Boulder County sheriff’s Cmdr. Rick Brough said.

Fire officials said Monday that dozens of homes have been destroyed, but Brough had no details Tuesday on exactly how many were lost.

The blaze broke out Monday morning in Four Mile Canyon northwest of Boulder and rapidly spread across 5 1/2 square miles or 3,500 acres. Erratic 45-mph gusts sometimes sent the fire in two directions at once. Brough said there is no indication it was intentionally set.

Crews managed to save the historic town of Gold Hill, including an old West grocery store and structures once used for stagecoach stops. But firefighters in the area had to relocate their engines and equipment several times to avoid the flames.

Four homes belonging to firefighters were destroyed. Those firefighters were allowed to leave to attend to their families and personal affairs, said Laura McConnell, a spokeswoman for the fire management team.



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