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Boulder Fourmile Canyon fire update: 90,000 gallons of fire retardant to be dropped today

A short time ago, we shared videos of the Fourmile Canyon fire in Boulder, which continues to belch smoke all over the metro area.

Now, thanks to Boulder County public information officer Mike Banuelos, we've got a number of updates, most having to do with numbers -- of acres burned, firefighters on the scene and more. But at this writing, we still don't know how many homes have been destroyed.

"Not much has changed from last night," Banuelos says. "The fire is at least 3,500 acres in size, and there's been a forced mandatory evacuation of more than 3,000 residents. I don't have a count on structures destroyed yet, but an investigation team will go on site today to catalog burned structures and begin the investigation process into a potential cause."

Banuelos estimates that "more than 100 firefighters are working to contain the active fire, manning 35 engines from thirty local agencies."

Authorities aren't releasing information about the percentage of the fire contained, if partial containment has been achieved, or a prediction about when folks will be able to return to their homes -- those lucky enough to still have homes, that is. As such, the evacuation order remains in effect for communities east of the Peak to Peak Highway, south of Lefthand Canyon Drive and north of Boulder Canyon Drive, aka Colorado Highway 119.

Displaced residents are encouraged to take shelter at the Coors Event Center, on the CU-Boulder campus, where the Red Cross has made food and water available. At this point, though, not many are taking advantage of the opportunity. According to Banuelos, only twelve people stayed there last night.

In the meantime, Banuelos continues, "seven air tankers and three helicopters have joined the effort. They're expected to drop more than 90,000 gallons of fire retardant today."

Thus far, there have been no reports of human injuries or deaths. As for animals, Banuelos says, "Boulder County will have animal control officers on scene to conduct animal evacuations when site access becomes available."

Until then, residents can phone 303-413-7730 to get updated closure details, word about evacuation sites and more. Information is also available at BoulderOEM.com.

When will all this be over? Banuelos doesn't know -- and neither does anyone else.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
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