Lefthand Canyon Fire in Boulder 60 percent contained, 400 acres

6:37 PM, Mar 12, 2011   |    comments
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The fire grew to about 400 acres overnight after it broke out on Friday morning in Chaos Canyon. Crews say they made good progress overnight and will continue to build and secure the fire line on Saturday.

Authorities evacuated 223 homes on Friday after the fire began and high winds drove the flames through the pine trees and dry grass. The U.S. Forest Service says 12 homes and six outbuildings are still threatened, but on Friday night the mandatory evacuation order was lifted on all but 10 to 15 homes.

Before the evacuation order was lifted at 5 p.m., the final residents to go home attended a safety briefing from firefighters who told them to be ready in case they need to evacuate again.

The fire was 25 percent contained on Friday evening. Crews had expected that number to be up to 50 by Saturday but announced it was at 60 percent containment at 10 a.m.

The final 40 percent of the fire is in steep and difficult terrain and there is no road access. Air support will be available on Sunday to help fire crews finish containment.

Containment on the fire is mostly on the west, south and east side of the fire.

Fire crews will get help from a helicopter that will be dropping water (it can carry 1,000 gallons) and another helicopter is on the way. Another 20-person crew is also expected to arrive by Saturday night. An air tanker helped crews on Friday and is helping again on Saturday.

No homes have been damaged and no injuries have been reported.

Fire crews and the Boulder County Sheriff's Office believe all evacuated residents will be able to go home by Saturday afternoon, but all potential fire hazards need to be taken out from around any structures before that can happen. They are creating a 200-foot perimeter around each structure.

Authorities will also be on hand while power lines are recharged to make sure sparks do not ignite.

Lefthand Canyon between US 36 and James Canyon is still closed while fire crews move equipment through the area.

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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