FOLLOWING UP ON THE FIRE
Officials: Boulder’s Sunshine fire is 100 percent contained
Michael Cox, in front, and Jake Long, wildland firefighters with Grand Junction Fire, walk along the perimeter of the Sunshine fire on Monday to monitor for hot spots.
Residents who were evacuated in the path of Boulder’s Sunshine fire can return home, fire officials said Monday, and the fire is 100 percent contained.
Residents should have proof of identification and enter the area at Boulder Canyon Drive or Sunshine Canyon Road, said Gabi Boerkircher, spokeswoman for the Boulder Office of Emergency Management.
The fire caused 426 people to be evacuated. Fire officials also lifted an order that warned an additional 815 people to be prepared to leave.
The blaze, which began early Sunday and is believed to have been caused by human activity, scorched 74 acres.
The high winds that fire crews were fearing overnight Sunday never materialized, and as a result firefighters were “comfortable” enough with where the fire was on Monday morning that they could lift the evacuations. A fire line surrounded the fire west of Boulder and consisted of trenches dug by firefighters, roads and areas where slurry was dropped.
Boulder Hotshot firefighter Jason Morley arrived on scene shortly after 9 a.m. Sunday and spent the day fighting the fire in rough terrain.
“Our guys did a great job,” Morley said. “We’re there digging lines, attacking hot spots.”
Morley said conditions Sunday in the canyon were brutal for firefighters and highly unusual for this time of year.
“I’ve never seen it like this before,” Morley said. “There is no snow at all up there. If you picked up grass, it would just crumble in your hands.”
So far, it has cost roughly $500,000 to fight the fire. There were 178 firefighters and 50 firetrucks fighting the blaze Monday.
Only one person used the East Boulder Community Center as a shelter overnight Sunday, and one evacuated horse stayed at the Boulder County Fairgrounds overnight.
On Sunday, Boulder County sheriff ’s Cmdr. Mike Wagner said the general area where the fire started, at Sunshine Canyon Road and Timber Trail, has a network of unofficial “social” trails and is known to have “lots of transient campsites.”
Officials were concerned Sunday about gusting winds because the fire was within a mile of downtown.
The Boulder Office of Emergency Management placed more than 1,000 phone calls ordering predawn evacuations. The fire was reported about 1:40 a.m. Sunday.
Eight aircraft dropped water and slurry, said Barb Halpin, a spokeswoman for the office.