Thomas Fire Set to Become Largest in CA History

UPDATE 01/03/18 @ 4:49 p.m. – The fire is now 92% contained at 281,893 acres.

Thomas Fire Summary

The Thomas Fire began in Ventura County just north of Santa Paula around 630pm on Monday December 4th. Under Red Flag and Santa Ana Conditions the fire quickly made a push along Hwy 150 to the south and parallel to Hwy126 to the west threatening Santa Paula and Ventura the first night. The fire continued its push west, crossing Hwy 33 and reaching the ocean at Hwy 101 shortly after. Over the course of the next week the fire slowly boxed in Ojai, eventually surrounding it, and pushed its way further west towards the Santa Barbara County line. By this time, the majority of the 1,330 structures impacted already had been. A few days later, the fire used a new round of overnight wind gusts to make a big run on the morning of Sunday Dec 9th, establishing itself above Carpinteria and Montecito. The following Saturday another round of morning winds forced the fire down into the fringe of Montecito, forcing a wall of engines into a several hour battle to push stall its progress. Luckily, by this time over 8,000 firefighters were assigned to the fire, and up to the task of suppression the big morning run. Thanks to their efforts, of the reported 1,300 homes threatened on Dec 16th, only 15 or so were impacted.

thomas progression

Thomas Fire’s progression from Dec 4th (green) through Dec 22nd (red)

Since that push, the fire’s progress has stalled and containment has increased to 65%. Still over the last 17 days, the fire is only 500 acres shy of topping the Cedar Fire for largest in California history. A burn operation is expected to add the acres needed with a few thousand more before all is said and done. Luckily, the firefighters necessary to see the fire out have been halved since the peak last week, but the suppression costs could eclipse last summer’s costly Soberanes fire in well short of the time. The full containment of the historic fire is not expected until after 2018 has begun.

Thomas Fire Major Developments:

  • Yesterday’s wind event produced 50 mph gusts, but fire activity remained minimal.
  • The firing operation was stalled yesterday due to high humidity and some snowfall. It was able to continue in the afternoon, and further firing is planned today for the Rose Valley area.
  • The fire area effectively endured two straight weeks of high to extreme fire weather conditions. Over that period, RH dropped as low as 3-5% and wind speeds were recorded over 60mph.
  • The fire is 500+ acres shy of passing 2003’s Cedar Fire for largest (in terms of acreage burned) in recorded California history.
  • Total fire suppression costs have ballooned to $170 million in just 17 days. It took last year’s Soberanes Fire twelve weeks to cost its total of $236 million.
top ten acres burned

Thomas Fire is 2nd all time in California’s history for acreage burned, but not for long.

Thomas Fire Facts:

  • Location: Fillmore all the way to Santa Barbara, both Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties
  • Size: 272,800 acres (as of 1/3/18 – 281,893)
  • Containment: 65% (as of 1/3/18 – 92%)
  • Fire Behavior: Light fire behavior with interior burning on the northern portions of the fire
  • 1,063 structures have been destroyed and 267 more have been damaged.
  • 18,000 Structures remain threatened.
  • All Mandatory Evacuations have been lifted.
top four ca fires

California’s four largest fires in history (update 01/03/18 : Thomas is now number 1)

Sources:

NIFC.GOV

CalFire Incident Page

Inciweb

Wikipedia – List of California Wildfires

Santa Ana Conditions This Week for Southern California

Red Flag Warning Possible through Saturday

The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for Southern California beginning in the early AM hours on Monday through (at least) Friday 1200 PDT. The areas will experience a significant Santa Ana conditions with the strongest winds expected Monday night and Thursday night into Friday. Offshore winds will exacerbate the problem by drying the air and reducing humidity to the single digits. This will likely be the strongest and longest Santa Ana event we have seen in the 2017 season.

Around this time two years ago we discussed what the thresholds are for a Red Flag Warning in Southern California. In this case, the National Weather Service sees the region’s relative humidity ≤15%, with sustained winds ≥ 25 mph and/or frequent gusts ≥ 35 mph (duration of 6 hours or more). The early event projections have even stated this could extend into next weekend. Specifically, wildfire danger will be most critical in the mountains and valleys of Los Angeles and Ventura counties. The combination of Santa Ana winds, low humidity, warm temperatures, and dry fuels will increase the risk for the rapid spread of any new fire starts. In response for this week, extra strike teams, and brush engines have been strategically staged in case of a big wildfire ignition.

RFW stats

This week’s expected Red Flag Warning statistics

Areas Impacted by Santa Ana Conditions:

Ventura County Mountains, Orange County, Los Padres National Forest, Los Angeles County Mountains, Angeles National Forest, Santa Clarita Valley, Cleveland National Forest, and San Diego County.

Click for official Santa Ana Conditions information: Red Flag Warning

santa ana conditions Dec 4

This week’s Red Flag Warning covers Southern CA from Santa Barbara to the border

 

The Big Burn by Timothy Egan

Book Review: “The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America”

In The Big Burn, author Timothy Egan takes the reader through the beginning years of environmentalist and activist John Muir’s growing friendship with then Governor Teddy Roosevelt. The book builds by highlighting their growing, shared desire to preserve the frontier and forestlands of the West. During Roosevelt’s presidency, he leaned heavily on forester and politician Gifford Pinchot to manage and develop the nationally protected forestry lands. Pinchot, in turn, formed the US Forest Service, as we know it today. Egan provides in-depth historical accounts of the politics involved in the establishment of the protected areas and the fight against unregulated land clearing by logging companies.

 

President Teddy Roosevelt & Naturalist John Muir in 1903, Yosemite, CA.

President Teddy Roosevelt & Naturalist John Muir in 1903, Yosemite, CA.

As the story leads in to 1910, Egan sets the stage by depicting a newly established forestry service still developing its forestry management plan. Many areas had no trained or allocated firefighting groups. With little-to-no fire crew system in place, Egan tells how forest rangers would have to staff their crews with any able-bodied men in town when the need arose, oftentimes from the nearby saloon. The whole situation becomes harrowing when one day in late August, a wildfire began burning out of control in the Coeur d’Alene National Forest. In response, a ranger named Ed Pulaski, was sent with a 45 man crew to work a part of the fire and ended up forced to find shelter in a nearby mine. Pulaski knew the area, was familiar with fire behavior, and was determined to save his men, even giving up his horse to an older fire fighter so the man could keep up with the crew. Pulaski kept his men sheltered in the mining tunnel overnight until the fire passed, keeping some of the panicked men inside the tunnel by force at gunpoint. The next day, he famously led them out of the forest into the nearby town to the hospital. Included in Egan’s relating of the Big Burn, as it came to be called, are many first-hand accounts and photos that pull the reader even closer into the events that occurred in the Coeur d’Alene area. The August 1910 fire across portions of Idaho, Montana, and Washington burned approximately 3 million acres of logging and mining land – nearly the size of Connecticut.

Image of mining tunnel where Pulaski and his crew stayed overnight - now called the Pulaski Tunnel

Mining tunnel where Pulaski and his crew stayed overnight – now called the Pulaski Tunnel

This book is recommended for readers interested in the historical account of the Big Burn and the inspiration for the development of the US Forestry Service and National Park Service. It is easily readable and engaging while giving an incredibly detailed and laid out history of the events surrounding this fire. Readers familiar with the wildland fire fighting world may know Pulaski’s name from the Pulaski tool credited to him (and likely created after this incident due to the need shown for better firefighting tools) that is a national standard.

For more information:

New Film Highlights the Unsung Heroes of Wildland Firefighting

only the brave movie poster

© 2017 Sony Pictures Digital Productions Inc. All rights reserved.
Motion Picture © 2017 No Exit Film, LLC. All rights reserved.

2017 has brought devastating wildfires to much of the Western United States. Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington all fared way worse than expected with more than 8 million acres consumed and hundreds of homes lost. California was the hardest hit, experiencing the deadliest and most destructive fires in the state’s history. The fires that tore through Northern California last month engulfed over 245,000 acres, destroyed some 8,000 structures, and caused the loss of life to more than 40 people. Much of country is fortunate to not experience wildfires of this scale and may find this level of devastation hard to comprehend. Fewer still understand the hard fought battle wildland firefighters wage to protect land, life, and structures.

No films in recent memory have told a compelling story of the unsung heroes of wildland firefighting. Short of news stories, audiences likely have little appreciation for the fury of a large wildfires moving like a tidal wave across the landscape. Most of the recent firefighting movies have focused on urban fire stations or have been laughable action films like Firestorm. In the wake of the historic 2017 wildfire season a movie now in theaters finally helps remedy that.

Only the Brave released by Columbia/Sony Pictures recounts the tale of a small group of wildland firefighters, the Granite Mountain Hotshots. The movie, based on an article in GQ titled No Exit, by Sean Flynn, focuses on the personal struggles of Superintendent Eric Marsh (Josh Brolin) and Brendan McDonough (Miles Teller), whose personal dramas act as a back drop to the formation of the Granite Mountain hotshots and the fires they battled across the country.

The Granite Mountain Hotshots started as a fuels mitigation crew for the city of Prescott before transitioning to a type 2 hand crew in 2004. After becoming frustrated about the crew’s role on numerous fires, Marsh fought for the team to earn an evaluation to become certified as a Hotshot crew. In 2008, after a lot of hard work and politicking the crew earned the distinction as the first municipal hotshot crew in the nation. Hotshots are small crews of elite wildland firefighters trained to fight fires directly in remote backcountry terrain with shovels, chainsaws, and limited support from other resources. Often working in steep rugged terrain with hot and dry conditions, they dig line, cut down trees and light back fires to help keep contain fires to a planned perimeter.

The first two thirds of the movie unfold around these events showing the arduous training, inherent dangers of firefighting, and the bonds it forms within the crew. Much of the story is told through the perspective of new recruit Brendan McDonough, a recovering drug addict who is given a second chance to build a new life for himself and his new born daughter. McDonough’s training allows the movie to tell a story that is not only engaging but is also informative and instructional.

Numerous scenes in the movie depict the crew digging line, clearing brush, and using drip torches and flares to start fires. Seeing firefighters using fire to fight fire is likely new to audiences inexperienced with wildland fire-fighting techniques. The movie shows how flares and drip torches allow firefighters to burn vegetation ahead of an incoming fire-front in order to establish a fire break that robs the approaching blaze of fuel that it needs to continue spreading. These fires can also be used to help steer the main fire or provide safety zones.

The film seamlessly blends some intense scenes of the crew with amazing special effects to highlight the enormity of wildfires and the challenges faced in trying to contain them. The director Joseph Kosinski avoids the normal pitfalls inherent in the typical macho-posturing movies and instead delivers a poignant story that is both emotional and respectful. Kosinski and the actors deliver a sincere portrayal of their real life counterparts along with their authentic camaraderie. Although there are some obvious Hollywood liberties taken, the film faithfully recreates the facts that matter most. Some of the scenes, like the human pyramid in front of the giant Juniper, were painstakingly recreated to pay homage to the now iconic photo of the crew celebrating the successful saving of the sacred Prescott tree during the Doce Fire.

I was refreshing to see that even as the film builds to its inevitable climax at Yarnell Hill, it stayed true to the story, adhering closely to official reports. For example, much of the dialogue is pulled straight from radio transcripts and the accounts from other firefighters on scene. Kosinki lays out the events of the Yarnell Hill Fire “as is” without attempting to try and invent motivations or answer questions that remain unanswered. The result is powerful and effective.

Only the Brave should give viewers a greater appreciation for the role played and the danger faced by wildland firefighters in the perennial battle to protect lives and land in the American West.

granite mountain fund

The Granite Mountain Fund drives donations to support firefighting as well as the towns and families connected to and impacted by hotshots and their work.

Aerial photo over Kynsna area (Source: South African Red Cross)

Wildfires Rage Across South Africa’s Cape After Massive Winter Storm

Hundreds are left homeless and thousands remain evacuated after the strongest winter storm in decades assaulted Cape Town, South Africa, and continued across the southern region of South Africa known as the Western Cape. Numerous lightning strikes associated with the massive storm ignited wildfires that raged across hillsides, fueled by gusting and strong winds, even as nearby areas began to flood and were drenched by rain. Tuesday evening, June 6th, the storm began to impact the Western Cape. By Wednesday, thousands of residents along the major roadway N2, famously known as the “Garden Route”, were evacuated as wildfires blazed toward nearby neighborhoods. As of June 8th, 4pm PDT, nine deaths are attributed to the storm, home collapses, and wildfires.

Storm Impact & Wildfires in Area around Cape Town and Knysna (Source: Google Earth)

Storm & Wildfire Impacted Area around Cape Town and Knysna (Source: Google Earth)

Current Situation

The local media is referring to this as the “mother of all storms”. A compounding factor to the devastating impact to the region is the already poor housing covering much of the area. Shanty towns burn quickly and can also collapse simply due to the strength of the winds. Flood waters also washed away several communities due to non-permanent construction. Part of the evacuation process included a local hospital in Knysna had to move all personnel and patients due to the approaching wildfires. The rain now falling on the Knysna area will assist firefighting efforts to get the wildfires under control; however, the additional rains will increase the possibilities for mudslides in the area.

Activity of Wildfires in last 48 hours, centered on Knysna (Source: Advanced Fire Information System Viewer – AFIS)

Wildfire activity in last 48 hours, centered on Knysna (Source: Advanced Fire Information System Viewer – AFIS)

Recovery & Outlook

So far, reports indicate more than 150 structures were destroyed throughout 20 suburbs. Cape Town, fortunately, has restored approximately 90% of its power. Across the impacted area, staff are opening shelters and resource centers to assist those displaced. The rains received may help with a fraction of the drought situation, but Level 3 water restrictions remain in place. Wetting rains over a longer duration are needed to truly have an impact. Local volunteers are collecting donations of items such as food, water, blankets, and other basic necessities for those affected by this disaster.

Aerial photo over Kynsna area of wildfires (Source: South African Red Cross)

Aerial photo over Kynsna area (Source: South African Red Cross)

Read further

Live update stream: http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/live-knysna-evacuation-underway-20170607

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-40199270

http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/powerful-winter-storm-kills-at-least-eight-in-cape-town/70001884

http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/08/world/south-africa-fires/

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/06/storm-kills-displaces-thousands-cape-town-170608052748704.html

Moreno Valley Fire

Opera Fire Scorches 1300 Acres in Southern California

Opera Fire

Southern California’s first large wildfire of the season kicked off on Sunday afternoon (4/30) near the town of Highgrove in Riverside County. The Opera Fire quickly grew to 30 acres before the first responding fire units arrived on scene. The dry, grassy fuels burned rapidly, driven by gusty afternoon winds. Soon after helicopters arrived to assist, drones were spotted in the area, forcing the helicopters to land. Unfortunately, the lack of support from aircraft allowed the fire to quickly grow to 300 acres.

By 7:00 PM PST, the fire was at 1200 acres and threatening 40 homes. 230 firefighters from 8 crews battled throughout the night, mitigated the structure threat, and gained 60% containment by early Monday morning. 75 firefighters from four crews finished the mop-up operations, and fortunately no flare-ups were reported. By 7:30 AM on Tuesday (5/2), the fire was mapped at 1,350 acres and listed as fully contained.

The cause of the fire is currently unknown and under investigation.

More to Come

Small fires broke out all across Southern California over the past weekend. This might be a precursor of what to expect for this coming fire season. The wet winter helped much of California recover from the years-long drought, but also led to a huge spring growth of fine fuels. As these fuels dry out in the summer heat, explosive fire behavior is possible.

 

Opera Fire

Opera Fire Quick Stats

Fire Facts and Resources

  • As of: May 2nd, 2017
  • Location: Highgrove, Riverside County, CA
  • Size: 1,350 acres
  • Containment: 100%
  • Firefighters: 230
  • Helicopters: 3
  • Bulldozers: 2
  • Fire Behavior: Rapid fire spread through light fuels.
  • Structures Threatened: 40 (reported)
  • Structures Destroyed: 0 (reported)
  • Incident Page: www.rvcfire.org
  • News Article: The Press-Enterprise

Florida Wildfires Provide Big Start to 2017 Fire Season

Florida wildfires have already produced unprecedented statistics for the 2017 wildfire season. Spring is wildfire season for the region, but the acreage burned to date has far exceeded the past decade’s averages. Wildfires throughout the Southern Plains in early March made up much of the acreage when more than a million acres collectively burned. So far, almost 2.2 million acres have burned according to data from the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC). In the past ten years, the annual average by April 13th is over four times lower at 434,696 acres.

Southern Area Fire Outlook

In their April 1st Outlook Report, NIFC’s Predictive Services attributed the uptick in activity to warmer and drier than normal conditions in several southern states. Florida especially has taken the brunt of the action of late with drought conditions persisting in the height of their fire season. Since February, prolonged fire activity has scorched 70,000+ acres there this spring with 19 structures collectively lost. Currently, there are 31 active wildfires over 100 acres and more than 100 fires statewide.

Florida Wildfires Prompt State of Emergency

Due to major fires currently burning and the fire potential related to the ongoing and forecasted dry conditions, a state of emergency was initiated on Tuesday (April 11th) by Florida Governor Rick Scott. Also, several Central Florida counties have implemented burn bans to prevent future starts as humans have caused most of the activity impacting the state. The seven-day forecast currently shows no help in terms of rainfall relief for ongoing drought there. Florida’s outlook is bleak, as chances for wildfires will remain heightened with hotter temperatures and low rainfall typical for spring. Thus, the fire danger for Floridians may last until late spring or early summer when the air becomes more humid and afternoon thunderstorms return.

Florida Wildfires

April 13th Wildfire Activity Map from Florida Forest Service

Sources:

https://www.predictiveservices.nifc.gov/outlooks/monthly_seasonal_outlook.pdf

http://wlrn.org/post/severe-drought-developing-florida

https://www.nifc.gov/fireInfo/nfn.htm

https://weather.com/news/news/florida-wildfires-governor-impacts

 

Sunshine Canyon Fire

Sunshine Fire Reinforces Importance of Fire Mitigation for RedZone’s CEO and Founder

Sunshine Canyon Fire

An early-season wildfire burned over 70 acres and evacuated 426 people in Sunshine Canyon near Boulder, Colo. on Sunday, March 19. The blaze reminded Sunshine Canyon resident Clark Woodward, who was evacuated, of the importance of year-round fire mitigation.

As the CEO and founder of RedZone and a volunteer with the Boulder County Incident Management Team (IMT), Woodward is no stranger to wildfire awareness.

“This wildfire affected me in three ways,” Woodward said. “First, because of my obligation as a homeowner; second, because I am a volunteer with the Boulder County Incident Management Team; and third, because this is why RedZone exists.”

In the fall of 2015, after living in Boulder for more than a decade, Woodward, along with his wife and two kids, moved back to the mountains — into Sunshine Canyon. Woodward lived in canyons before and was aware of both the risk of wildfires and the importance of fire mitigation. The first thing he did following the move was join Wildfire Partners, a mitigation program for homeowners in Boulder County, Colo. (which is managed by RedZone).

A blaze started early Sunday morning — which we now know to be human-caused — in Sunshine Canyon. Woodward and his wife had little information about the fire’s proximity.

“We stood on our porch watching the fire glow red behind a hill,” Woodward said. “We tried to see how quickly the fire was growing and how it was affected by the wind.”

Last-Minute Fire Mitigation

Around 2:30 a.m., the Sheriff’s Department came to evacuate Sunshine Canyon residents. While his wife and kids went to a hotel for safety, Woodward stayed back — he had fire mitigation to do.

“I was caught off guard and a bit embarrassed,” Woodward said. “We had all these half-complete fire mitigation projects.”

Woodward had completed many of the recommendations outlined by Wildfire Partners, but several winter projects weren’t finished. He and his wife planned to complete the projects before wildfire season started, normally around mid-May. However, the Sunshine Canyon blaze caught Woodward by surprise.

Fire mitigation — enclosing a porch

Fire mitigation project — enclosing a porch.

“With funding from Wildfire Partners, a contractor took out about 17 trees that were close to our home, but some of the wood was stacked up near the house,” Woodward said. “So, around 3 a.m., I quickly tossed all of the wood down into a gully.”

Woodward quickly completed his emergency fire mitigation checklist. He brought porch furniture inside, swept away needles, removed flammables from windows and closed them, and packed his family’s evacuation packing list, including important documents and photos. Woodward then joined his family at the hotel.

Sunshine Canyon Fire

View of the Sunshine Canyon Fire from the east side of Boulder, Colo.

Prioritizing Fire-Mitigation 

The fire grew through the morning, but never harmed any structures or caused injuries. The winds, with gusts up to 30 mph, blew the fire back on itself and it died by Monday, March 20, when the evacuation lifted. When the Woodwards returned home, they resolved to make fire mitigation tasks an utmost priority.

“Leaving the house with incomplete mitigation made me feel exposed and vulnerable,” Woodward said. “Especially because I hadn’t finished what I had been preaching to other people. From the perspective of Wildfire Partners, I should be a shining beacon of what wildfire mitigation looks like.”

Woodward’s story emphasizes the importance of fire mitigation, especially following the unseasonably warm and dry weather occurring on the Front Range of Colorado.

Wildfire Partners

Boulder County residents should contact Wildfire Partners. The organization sends a specialist to your home and creates a task list of fire mitigation requirements for your specific location. Wildfire Partners will give you a certification you can share with your insurance company once the tasks are complete. This certification indicates you have done everything possible to protect against the inevitable fire that may threaten your home.

Do you know if your home is at risk for wildfires? Download our free emergency fire mitigation checklist and evacuation packing list.

 

Insurance companies: Don’t leave your customers in the danger zone. Arm yourself with wildfire intelligence from RZ Alert.

RedZone Takes Part in Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) Conference

Wildland Urban Interface Conference

RedZone was pleased to take part in the annual Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) Conference held at the Peppermill Resort in Reno, Nevada, during the week of March 20, 2017. Each year this event, hosted by The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), offers invaluable hands-on training and interactive sessions designed to address the various challenges presented by wildland fire.

During this year’s WUI conference, RedZone had the honor of meeting fire representatives from Local, State, Federal and International agencies such as the Texas Forest Service, Australian Fire Ministry, USFS, Cal Fire and Cedar City Fire Department. An exhibit hall allowed vendors the opportunity to showcase new products and spend valuable time with prospective clients. Some vendors in attendance included Spiedr Spinkler, Simtable, Mtech, Boise Mobile Equipment, Supply Cache and National Firefighter.  

Wildfire Scores

RedZone’s revamped booth highlighted our new product wildfirescores.com. The product allows homeowners, insurance underwriters, fire officials and real estate professionals to see how frequently fires occur near a property and how severe a fire would be if one were to occur. We happily shared how Wildfirescores.com uses state-of-the-art software modeling to analyze local vegetation, weather and topography data in order to generate predictions of fire behavior.

RedZone Wildfire Scores Wildland Urban Interface Conference      

WUI Conference Keynote Speaches

Attendees were able to listen to keynote speeches on subjects including: communities regularly being built within the urban interface, firefighter health, leadership and general sessions focused on past events. 2016’s largest and one of its most destructive events was the Fort McMurray Fire from May in Alberta, Canada. The evacuation of 88,000 people with one escape route was quite the tale. RedZone also attended SDG&E’s presentation that highlighted their weather supercomputer. The computer is being used to predict wildfire using a sophisticated weather model that has proven effective for Southern California, especially for Santa Ana Wind Event Fires.

Every year it is exciting to see the WUI conference bring together fire experts from around the world.  We are happy to be a part of that collaborative effort to better protect communities from wildfire and we look forward to next year’s WUI conference.

Sunshine Fire Prompts Early Season Evacuations

Sunshine Fire

Unseasonably warm temperatures over the last few days have prompted an early start to Colorado’s fire season. The Sunshine fire started early Sunday morning (3/19) in the canyons west of Boulder, Colorado.  Gusty winds quickly pushed the fire through dry fuels causing officials at the Boulder Office of Emergency Management to issue mandatory evacuations for over 400 homes and pre-evacuation notices for another 836 residences.

Over 250 firefighters battled through the night and managed to stop the fire’s forward progress before any structures were damaged. As of Monday morning all evacuations had been lifted, but the area is still closed to non-residents as crews continue to extinguish hotspots. Authorities have yet to determine a cause of the fire, but say it is likely human caused. The area around Sunshine Canyon is popular for hikers, but is also a known location for transient camps.

Sunshine Fire Prompts Over 400 Evacuations

Sunshine Fire perimeter west of Boulder, Colorado.

Fire Outlook

Temperatures in Colorado have been unseasonably warm this spring, topping out at over 80 degrees over the weekend. Only 2015 saw temperatures reach 80 degrees earlier in the season. The foothills of the Front Range west of Boulder are currently under a Red Flag Warning, the 10th such warning in Colorado this month.

Fire management officials are concerned that the region is currently experiencing fire weather conditions more akin to summer, rather than spring.  Firefighters reported the conditions in the canyon on Sunday as “brutal”.  Hotshot firefighter Jason Morley said, “I’ve never seen it like this before.”  He added, “There is no snow at all up there. If you picked up grass, it would just crumble in your hands.”

Fire Facts

  • As of: March 20th, 2017
  • Location: Boulder, CO
  • Size: 74 acres
  • Containment: 50%
  • Fire Behavior: Rapid fire spread through dry fuels in steep rugged terrain.
  • Evacuations: Initial response: 400 homes mandatory evacuated and pre-evacuation notices for 836 homes.
  • News Article: weather.com, Boulder Daily Camera

Update

The fire was declared fully contained (100%) around 1600 HRS Monday March 20th, 2017.