Fast-moving Colorado wildfire forces 19,000 people from their homes

Authorities ordered 19,000 people from their homes on Saturday due to a fast-moving Colorado wildfire in rolling hills south of the college town of Boulder, not far from the site of a destructive 2021 blaze that leveled more than 1,000 homes.

The wildfire had grown to 50 hectares by late afternoon with no containment, according to the Boulder Office of Emergency Management. Evacuation orders covered 8,000 homes.

Protected wildland was burning near the Table Mesa neighborhood and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), police said on Twitter. Authorities have called it the NCAR fire.

The fire is in an area where a blaze destroyed 1,000 homes last year in unincorporated Boulder County and suburban Superior and Louisville.

Superior town officials told residents in an email that there were no immediate concerns for the community.

The fire was moving south-southeast toward Eldorado Springs, the Boulder County Sheriff’s office said. The Boulder Fire Department was fighting the blaze.

A single engine air tanker drops water on the NCAR fire as it burns in the foothills south of the National Center for Atmospheric Research on Saturday in Boulder, Colorado. (Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post/The Associated Press)

Eldorado Canyon State Park has been closed and authorities have ordered people who are hiking or climbing in the area to leave. University of Colorado Boulder Police are evacuating the south campus and police blocked westbound traffic on roads near the blaze.

The fire started around 2 pm MT Saturday, said Boulder Fire-Rescue spokesperson Marya Washburn. An Emergency Operations Center was activated, Boulder police said. Emergency alerts have been sent to cellphones within a 0.4 kilometer radius of the research centre.

“Message is to EVACUATE area due to fast moving wildfire #boulder,” police said.

There was no immediate information on the cause of the blaze.

The skies are clear and the temperature was about 23 C with wind at about 40 km/h.

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