JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. – Pre-evacuations have been lifted for a wildfire that's burning along the hogback south of I-70 in Jefferson County Friday afternoon.
The town of Morrison, the Solterra subdivision of Lakewood and the Red Rock Ranch neighborhood at C-470 were affected by the notices.
Smoke started to become visible in the area of I-70 and C-470 shortly before 2:30 p.m. Friday, but calls about the blaze started coming in to first responders about 15 minutes earlier, according to West Metro Fire Rescue spokeswoman Ronda Scholting.
Highway 93 closed shortly after those reports started coming in from I-70 to Morrison, and a closure of Matthews/Winters Park in Jefferson County followed to allow firefighters to battle the flames, according to county officials.
Scholting described firefighting activities as "difficult" due to strong winds that are making it hard for firefighters to even stand upright.
The Hogback Fire, as it is now called, was estimated to be about 40 acres in size and zero percent contained shortly before 9 p.m., according to West Metro Fire Rescue officials. The fire — which was moving from near Alameda and C-470 to the southeast — was being pushed by "extremely strong winds," fire officials said.
Scholting said that number was just an early estimate and said she believes the fire could be bigger.
Below is a map of the pre-evacuation notice for the Solterra and Red Rocks Ranch Sub-Divisions, C470 East to Bear Creek Blvd, Alameda Pkwy South to Morrison Road, due to #HogbackFire pic.twitter.com/V0kq0goFUP— Jeffco Sheriff (@jeffcosheriffco) March 31, 2023
A concert that was scheduled for Friday evening at Red Rocks was postponed, Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre officials said on Twitter. Refunds will be available at point of purchase.
A red flag warning remains in effect until 7 p.m. from much of the Denver metro area and portions of eastern and southeastern Colorado. Winds have also started to decrease over most of the Front Range and were now focused from Golden to the Boulder area where gusts were still between 60 to 80 mph, according to the National Weather Service in Boulder.
Officials ask that you avoid doing anything that may produce sparks, such as: Burning, bonfires, campfires and grilling; tossing cigarette butts; discharging firearms, lighting fireworks, traveling off-road, operating machinery; as well as welding, soldering or brazing.
Several agencies are helping the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office fight the blaze.
This is a breaking developing news story and will be updated with more information as soon as we learn more.