Headlines October 19, 2020

Headlines October 19, 2020

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Cal-Wood Fire Now Largest in Boulder County History

Firefighters were able to limit the growth of the Cal-Wood Fire in Boulder County yesterday. But at least 26 homes have been destroyed and northwest parts of the county are still under mandatory or voluntary evacuation orders.

Boulder County Sheriff Division Chief Mike Wagner said last evening at 7 PM that the fire was about 15 percent contained, and had burned close to 8,800 acres. It is already the largest wildfire in Boulder County history.

Wagner said last night that the northern edge of the Cal-Wood fire was an area they were paying close attention to:

The wildfire was first reported at noon Saturday near the Cal-Wood Education Center on County Road 87.

As of last night the cause of the fire and its point of origin had not been determined; but there were no lightning strikes in the area, so it was likely not started due to weather.

Boulder City Manager Jane Brautigam declared a local disaster emergency and issued an order closing the Boulder Reservoir to the public while it serves as an operations center and campsite for firefighters for both fires in the county.

Wagner said that of the 26 homes they know were destroyed, 19 were on Mountain Ridge Road near US 36 and Nelson Road; but they suspect more structures have been burned. He said that fire crews were able to prevent more loss yesterday through suppression efforts.

A federal incident team will be taking over command of the fire this morning.

In total, Boulder County officials said about 1,700 residences were within the mandatory evacuation area including a population of about 3,000 people.

An evacuation point has been set up at Boulder County’s North Broadway Complex at 3460 N. Broadway where evacuees can find information.

Boulder Valley School District announced Sunday evening that Gold Hill and Jamestown elementary schools will be closed today as a result of the fires. Monday is a planned day off for St. Vrain Valley students.

Many roads remain closed and officials advised people to avoid the area to give room for first responders to work.

 Lefthand Canyon Fire Forces Evacuations in Boulder County

The Lefthand Canyon Fire which sprang up yesterday grew to more than 300 acres. The town of Ward was evacuated as well as Sunshine Canyon and Gold Hill.

Homes along Spring Gulch Road and on the 13,000 block of Lefthand Canyon, were evacuated shortly after 1 p.m., when a neighbor called in the fire.

Yesterday afternoon aerial firefighters were able to stop the spread of the Lefthand Canyon Fire.

Jamestown, which was under voluntary evacuation for the Cal-Wood Fire, is now also under voluntary evacuation for the Lefthand Canyon fire as well.

County officials said that an error lead to some alert systems telling residents of Boulder and Longmont to evacuate, even though those areas were not in the evacuation area.

For the Lefthand Canyon Fire, an evacuation point has been set up at the Nederland Community Center. Large animals can be taken to the Gilpin County Fairgrounds in Blackhawk.

The Boulder County Emergency Operations call center opened at 8 AM this morning and will stay open until 9 PM. The number to call to speak to a staff member is 303-413-7730.

Cameron Peak Fire Largest in State History

In other fire news, the Cameron Peak Fire west of Fort Collins is now the largest in Colorado’s recorded history topping 200,000 acres yesterday.

The blaze is about 62% contained, and firefighters were helped by lower winds and higher humidity Saturday night.

And in Grand County the East Troublesome Fire grew to 11,562 acres with 5% containment on yesterday morning. The wildfire was burning on Arapaho National Forest lands northwest of Hot Sulphur Springs and northeast of Kremmling.

Voting In Person Starts Today in Colorado

Today is the first day of in-person voting in Colorado for those who are not turning in their ballots to a collection box or by mail. In Boulder County officials will open vote centers today where people can register to vote, cast their ballot in person, or drop off their completed ballot.

The Boulder County Clerk’s Office told 9News they have not had any reports of voters needing replacement ballots due to the fires, but some of those who evacuated may not have been able to grab their ballots.

While many residents may have grabbed essentials, some may have forgotten their ballot. Should a county resident need a replacement ballot, the county says they can get one starting today with its Ballot-To-Go service which is available at some voter centers.

Hospitalizations Due to Coronavirus Rise in Denver and Colorado

The number of people currently hospitalized in the state is 348, and the state’s seven-day, moving average positivity rate is well above 5 percent according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

The City of Denver issued two new orders Friday.  Gatherings are now limited to five people and mask wearing is required in all outdoor settings.

Organized athletic programs — like college and high school sports, as well as organized youth and adult leagues — are exempt from the expanded order. People who are by themselves are also exempt.

The Colorado Sun reports that Denver’s announcement comes as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are rising in Denver and across Colorado. Health officials are sounding the alarm, saying if the trajectory isn’t altered hospitals could eventually be overwhelmed.

Air Quality Alert in Effect

There is an air quality alert in effect today and it is an Action Day in the seven-county Denver-Boulder metropolitan area. Residents are requested to limit driving of gas or diesel vehicles until at least 4 PM.