California and Colorado Wildfires Prompt Evacuations of Thousands
Strong winds will keep the wildfire danger high across the West Sunday into Monday.
Wildfires burning in both California and Colorado have forced evacuations and left one firefighter injured Saturday evening, burning more than 1,000 acres combined.
The Boulder Office of Emergency Management in Colorado reported that nearly 2,000 residents have been evacuated as of Sunday afternoon, the majority of which are from the areas north and west of Boulder Canyon and east of Peak to Peak Highway. Included in that total were 738 residents evacuated on Sunday from the Magnolia area.
A fire near Nederland, Colorado was sparked Saturday afternoon and consumed six structures and over 330 acres by Sunday afternoon.
The Boulder Office of Emergency Management declared a local disaster declaration as mandatory evacuation orders were issued in the Nederland area. People in another 170 homes in the path of the fire were put on notice to be ready to leave on a moment’s notice.
More than 100 firefighters have been moved to battle the blaze, but the fire remains at 0% containment, according to the Cold Springs Fire’s last update.
Thus far, no injuries were sustained during the Nederland fire.
In California, some 2,000 people fled their Santa Clarita Valley homes as the fast-moving wildfire grew closer.
Sunday, the brush fire that burned to the edges of homes in the foothills of the Santa Susana Mountains north of Los Angeles was 20% contained and was no longer threatening residences.
The blaze was sparked in the Stevenson Ranch area, about 35 miles north of Los Angeles, around 12:00 Noon local time before quickly growing to 1.25 sqm in just hours, the Los Angeles County Fire Department said.
Over 200 firefighters were deployed to fight the blaze with help from water-dropping aircraft as they attempted to create a perimeter around threatened homes.
“We are having to battle with Mother Nature,” said fire Captain Roland Sprewell. “The winds are blowing and the terrain is challenging. The firefighters are in dense, heavy brush, and after a five-year drought, all this vegetation is prime and ready to burn.”
Wind gusts in the area were recorded around 25 mph, aiding the fire’s explosive growth.
Before nightfall, firefighters were able to contain around 15% of the wildfire, which was becoming dangerously close to Interstate 5.
The potential for the spreading of existing and any new wildfires will remain high across much of the West Sunday.
This is due to gusty winds impacting a large part of the region from a potent southward dip in the jet stream moving across the Northwest.
As a result, the National Weather Service has posted Red Flag warnings and fire weather watches for wildfire danger in parts of many states from the High Plains South Dakota westward through the Rockies to Southern California.