Given how wet our Marches tend to be, we don't expect conditions dry enough to create fire danger -- but there's concern aplenty in Lefthand Canyon, where a blaze has consumed approximately 622 acres and caused evacuations of 223 homes. At this point, with the flames 80 percent contained, the investigation will turn to what started the conflagration. Or should we say "who."
Indeed, the U.S. Forest Service has already determined that the fire was human-caused. Now it's a matter of tracing the fire to its source even as the last burning embers are extinguished.
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Firefighters made good progress on Lefthand Canyon OHV Area Fire located on the Boulder Ranger District of the Roosevelt National Forest, eight miles north-northwest of Boulder. The fire is now 80 percent contained and 622 acres. The increase in size is due to better mapping of the fire. Firefighters continue to focus on public and firefighter safety as well as structure protection. Tonight residents may continue to see smoke and flames within the fire area. Firefighters will be patrolling the fireline this evening.
Tomorrow seven engines and four handcrews will be working the fire. The helicopter will be available to assist them as needed.
The Lefthand OHV Area will remain closed while firefighters continue their work. Lefthand Canyon Drive will open to the public this evening. Please use caution watch out for firefighting equipment and firefighters in the area. For more road restrictions, road closures or evacuations visit the Boulder Office of Emergency Management website.
Our next update of this information is expected around 9:00 a.m. tomorrow.
Incident Type: Wildfire Cause: Human-caused Date of Origin: Friday March 11th, 2011 approx. 10:35 AM Location: Started in Chaos Canyon Incident Commander: Dave Buchanan, USFS Total Personnel: 125 Size: 622 acres Percent Contained: 80% Burning in ponderosa pine with grassy understory
Firefighters will patrol the fireline this evening. Smoke and flames may be visible within the fire boundary. Tomorrow seven engines and four handcrews will be working the fire. The helicopter will be available to assist them as needed.
Terrain Difficulty: Steep, rugged terrain
Firefighters working on the fire are made of local volunteer fire departments, county, state and federal resources as well as crews from Arizona (San Carlos Crew), Grand Junction (Juniper Crew), Idaho (Payette Hotshots) and Craig (Green River Crew). Structure Protection continues and is provided by the Lefthand Fire Protection District. The fire cause is still under investigation. Firefighters saw a mountain lion chasing a deer today within the fire area.
More from our News archive: "Boulder Fourmile Canyon fire photo gallery: Most beautiful shots of a horrible blaze."