BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — A small wildfire burning in the mountains just outside the Colorado city of Boulder has forced people from their homes early Sunday and ignited dead trees that are exploding into black plumes of smoke, authorities and residents said.
Wind was pushing the flames in the wooded area just a couple of miles from the downtown section of the university town. Though the fire was only 30 to 50 acres, homes have been evacuated and others put on alert to be ready to leave if conditions worsen.
It was not clear how many houses were evacuated just west of the city and how the flames started, said Shannon Cordingly of the Boulder Office of Emergency Management. There were no reports of injuries or buildings being destroyed, the agency said.
Some roads are closed and rerouted and if the fire keeps spreading, more evacuations were possible, Cordingly said.
Seth Frankel, who has been warned that he and his family may need to evacuate, said he had packed up “generations of things” that can’t be replaced and was ready to go if the air quality got worse.
He said smoke is pouring toward neighborhoods and many dead trees are combusting and sending black smoke into the air less than a half-mile from his home. But he and his wife, a Boulder native, and three daughters have dealt with fires and floods before.
“It’s always alarming and always on your mind, but it’s not an uncommon sensation around here,” said Frankel, who has lived in Boulder for 20 years.
He got word about the fire early Sunday from a neighbor who received a warning call and has been outside with neighbors watching the flames and smoke. But he’s letting his daughters, 9, 11 and 13, get some more sleep.
“It’s still alarming, but there’s no panic,” Frankel said. “We will be long since gone when parents are no longer smiling.”