Click for update here: The destructive power of the Fourmile Canyon fire near Boulder was never in doubt -- but the catalog of destruction continues to grow. According to Greg Huele, public-information-officer trainee for the Fairmount Fire Protection District, the estimated number of burned structures has risen to 140 -- and there's no official estimate about containment of the blaze to date. Get more details and see new videos below:
"We aren't issuing a containment percentage at this point," Huele says. "We've got close to twenty miles of fire line around the fire, with about three miles of completed line -- and we built line yesterday and all through the night. But it's not considered containment just because the line is there. We need to secure that, and make sure it stays secure, before we can call sections contained."
At this writing, the Boulder Office of Emergency Management web page hasn't posted specific addresses for the 140 structures said to have been destroyed. Indeed, the only addresses listed are for the first 54 structures confirmed burned in recent days -- just over half of the 92 said to have been lost as of yesterday. The last number came as a result of what Boulder County Sheriff's Office spokesman Commander Rick Brough called a "quick count." However, Huele considers the 140-structure figure to be firm.
"I wouldn't call it a quick count," he notes. "They verified that across the board with assessor maps. But we don't have a percentage or a specific number of residences as opposed to other structures, and that number can still change, depending on conditions."
Indeed, the weather doesn't look good for the massive crew now involved in fighting the blaze: 550 firefighters from at least 35 different agencies, with assistance from an air armada consisting of five heavy air tankers, four fixed-wing aircraft and five helicopters.
"We have a wind event coming in at six o'clock tonight -- a red flag warning. And we have hot, dry weather before then. The fuels in the fire area are going to dry out today when the sun really starts shining on it, and the small amount of rain that occurred on the fire yesterday didn't have that large an impact. There's still a pretty good potential for fire spread."
Nonetheless, some residents in evacuated areas on the east side of the conflagration -- the subdivisions of Boulder Heights, Pine Brook Hills and Carriage Hills -- will be able to return to their homes after 10 a.m. today.
Huele notes that residents may have to pull out again if conditions change, but "we feel confident that the areas will be secure for any visitors. The areas we have concern about will still not be open to the public."
He also has a warning for residents who've snuck past roadblocks to access off-limits sections: "People think they know how to get out of there safely, but fires can be very unpredictable."
This one certainly has been.
In the meantime, look below and page down to see some of the latest videos from the scene:
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.