A Colorado wildfire that ignited on Saturday drove almost 3,000 people in Boulder County from their homes as it raced through at least 8,700 parched and continued to raze the state and the West.
The CalWood wildfire, which resulted in wind-blown acres in under 24 hours on Sunday in Boulder County, was the largest in state history. It has already burned down at least 317 square miles since mid-August.
“It just exploded. We do believe multiple homes were probably lost. It’s still too dynamic to get in and begin to assess. We still think, just based on the path of the fire and how it moved and the area that it went through, that that number is likely large.”Mike Wagner, Boulder County Sheriff’s Office
Aside from Boulder, Jamestown’s small community, about 15 miles northwest from the county, was also evacuated. Simultaneously, Lyons, which has a population of over 2,000, has been placed in an evacuation warning Sunday.
“An Evacuation Warning is when a public safety official issues a warning that there is a high possibility of an evacuation due to a wildfire that poses a risk to life or property… Anyone under an Evacuation WARNING for #CalWoodFire should be ready to leave immediately. Have a bag packed & be ready to leave with very little notice. Winds on Sunday could create fast-moving fire activity.Boulder Office of Emergency Management
The prime factors to the CalWood fire have been deemed familiar at this stage during the West’s wildfire season: unusually dry conditions, low humidity, above-average temperatures, and strong winds. However, the cause of the fires is still under investigation. Wagner ruled out the possibility of a lightning strike or any other weather-related events that ignited the fire.
The Boulder County Sheriff’s Office chief also pinpointed the current weather, and the inadequate number of firefighters due to high demand in the West remains a considerable challenge in efforts to eliminate the blaze.
“We’ve been concerned for some time about the fire danger. It has been so dry.”Mike Wagner
According to the National Interagency Fire Center, there have been at least 60 significant fires capsizing in 11 states in the West.