Sunshine Fire: Hundreds of homes evacuated, still 50 percent contained

Posted at 8:45 AM, Mar 19, 2017

BOULDER, Colo. -- Hundreds of homes were evacuated and hundreds more were placed on pre-evacuation notices Sunday morning due to a wildfire just west of Boulder.

A total of 426 homes were evacuated before dawn and another 836 remained on pre-evacuation notices as a precaution as the blaze continues to burn near Sunshine Canyon, according to Boulder Office of Emergency Management (OEM) officials.  

Residents living in the City of Boulder between Mapleton and Canyon Drive along 4th Street were all evacuated, Boulder OEM officials said. 

Mark Sandercott spoke with Denver7’s Amanda del Castillo about being evacuated. “I thought, for sure, we were probably going to lose the house,” Sandercott said.

He has only lived in Boulder for three months and was back to packing up his bags Sunday morning, “I grabbed my backpack, grabbed the most essential things that I thought I needed, and some water and just left.”

Unlike Sandercott, neighbors said fire is a familiar scene for longtime residents living near Sunshine Canyon. Still, the fear of destruction is all the same.

“I’m very concerned that it will spread,” resident Anne Slichter said. “Even if it doesn’t spread into the town, just the damage it will do to this beautiful natural environment… It’s just very sad.”

Slichter was under pre-evacuation orders as of Sunday morning, “Our car is loaded with everything that we most treasure, but I certainly hope we don’t have to go any place.”

The current evacuation zone is as follows: 4th Street in Boulder to the east, Poorman Road to the west, Highway 119 to the south and Sunshine Canyon to the north.

A shelter location for fire evacuees was available at East Boulder Community Center, OEM officials said. Small animals are allowed at the East Boulder Community Center with residents but large animals should be moved to the Boulder County Fairgrounds. 

There was also a road closure for Sunshine Canyon Drive (Mapleton) between 4th Street and Timber. Boulder Canyon was also closed at 9th Street westbound.  

All City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks in the Red Rocks, Sanitas, Sunshine Canyon and Wonderland Lake areas, including Betasso Preserve, Bald Mountain Open Spaces were closed to the public, Boulder OEM officials said shortly before 9:30 a.m. 

The Sunshine Fire, which is moving in a southern direction, is approximately 62 acres in size. The fire was 50 percent contained as of 6:30 p.m., according to Boulder OEM officials. The blaze was reported sometime before 1:30 a.m.

A public call center has been set up to take non-emergency questions from residents regarding the fire. The number to call is (303) 413 - 7730. 

There have been no reports of loss of property, structures or of any injuries, OEM officials said. 

PHOTOS: Fire crews attack Sunshine Fire west of Boulder

Boulder County Sheriff's Office deputies provided an update of the Sunshine Fire at 5 p.m. Watch below for the latest:


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