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Evacuations remain in place for north-central Colorado fire

Last Updated Oct 18, 2020 at 2:00 pm EDT

BOULDER, Colo. — Nearly 3,000 people were forced to flee from a fast-moving fire in north-central Colorado and authorities believe some buildings were lost.

The CalWood Fire started around noon Saturday near the Cal-Wood Education Center, which is about 17 miles (27 kilometres) from downtown Boulder. It was pushed by strong winds. The National Center for Atmospheric Research’s Mesa lab recorded gusts of 59 mph (95 kph) on Saturday.

More than 1,600 residences and nearly 3,000 people were under evacuation orders, including the small town of Jamestown, Boulder County officials said.

Based on the path of the fire, officials believe it is likely multiple houses were lost, Mike Wagner, the Boulder County sheriff’s division chief, told the Daily Camera newspaper in Boulder on Saturday.

The fire had burned nearly 14 square miles (36 square kilometres) by Sunday morning, but more humid weather was expected to help fire crews.

“Everyone is thrilled with the weather this morning,” Jennifer Bray, spokesperson with the Boulder County Emergency Operations Center told The Denver Post on Sunday. “And hoping that will be a big help in their efforts today.”

The plan for Sunday was for aerial crews to hit the fire “as hard as they can” before winds picked up later in the day, Wagner said.

Meanwhile, the Cameron Peak fire, which started in mid-August and is burning west of Fort Collins, has grown to 318 square miles (823 square kilometres) and was 62% contained on Sunday. More than 1,500 firefighters are working the blaze, which is the largest fire in Colorado history.

A spot fire east of the main Cameron Peak fire burned homes overnight Friday and into Saturday, Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith said in a Facebook post Sunday morning. He said homes were lost in The Retreat in Glen Haven, but did not say how many. The sheriff’s office will assess the damage and notify homeowners.

Winds were expected to be lighter on Sunday and some precipitation was in the forecast allowing fire crews to more aggressively fight the fire, fire information officer Cass Cairns said.

The Associated Press

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