Yesterday, the Lime Gulch fire in southern Jefferson County seemed poised for enormous growth given its remote location and hot, dry weather that concerned firefighters.
Fortunately, the blaze's growth was rather modest. It only increased in size from 500 acres to 600 acres, with no homes damaged or injuries sustained. Yet plenty of dangers remain. The fire is still largely uncontained, conditions continue to be worrisome, and a slew of structures could be at risk if it really starts running.
The federal Inciweb.org page dedicated to the Lime Gulch fire estimates containment at just 5 percent, due in part to the area where it gained a foothold.
Authorities believe it sparked to life due to thunderstorms that rolled through the area in the Conifer vicinity on Tuesday night.
Fire crews from the U.S. Forest Service and other local agencies responded quickly and aggressively. But the hazardous terrain might it tough for firefighters to even reach the fire, let alone begin to subdue it.
That necessitated the implementation of aerial resources to supplement those on the ground.
The plan calls for crews to start establishing containment lines around the fire, with the goal of keeping it south of the North Fork South Platte River and west of the South Platte River.
Meanwhile, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office issued a mandatory evacuation notice for residents living within a three-mile radius of Cathedral Spires.
The Inciweb page calculates 410 land line phones were contacted in that zone, with another 859 land lines received calls in areas on pre-evacuation alert status -- a one-mile radius around the intersection of South Pleasant Park Road and Kuehster Road, as well as a one-mile radius of Spring Creek Ranch.
Here are the road closures in impacted Jefferson County areas, as well as Douglas County:
Intersection of HWY 285 and Foxton Road is only accessible to local residents
Intersection of Foxton Road and Running Deer is closed
Intersection of South Platte River and Southwest Platte River (Two Forks) is closed
Intersection of HWY 126 and Buffalo Creek is closed
Waterton Canyon is closed
Intersection of HWY 67 and South Platte River is only accessible to local residents Nighthawk is closed
Also, access to the Colorado Trail off Highway 126 is closed at present.
The 283 personnel working Lime Gulch right now are doing their best to keep the conflagration from heading toward what 9News estimates at twenty to thirty structures that could be in the fire's path. Meanwhile, residents throughout the metro area who can see the fire's plume and smell the smoke it's spewing out will continue watching closely for any sign of gathering momentum.
Continue for more photos and video of the Lime Gulch fire, followed by our original coverage.
Continue for our original post about the Lime Gulch fire, including photos, videos and more. Original post, 6:43 a.m. June 20: After more than a week, the Black Forest fire in El Paso County is 95 percent contained, allowing the focus to shift to repair and recovery. But there's no rest for the weary: Firefighters are currently battling a new blaze in southern Jefferson County.
Dubbed the Lime Gulch fire, it's already consumed 500 acres and forced evacuations. And because it's in a remote area, the conflagration's both difficult to attack and poised for growth today, when temperatures are predicted to be high and fire conditions are dangerous. Get photos, videos and details below.
The federal government has already taken over management of the fire, and is updating the public on a specially designated Inciweb.org page. According to the site, the fire is near the community of Foxton on Pike National Forest land.
Yesterday, air support was being provided by two heavy tankers and a Type 1 helicopter -- and more airborne assistance has been ordered for today. Also coming is another fire team, this one based in Dallas. The crew is slated to take command of the operation at 6 p.m. today.
In the meantime, an evacuation has been ordered for residents in a three-mile radius of South Foxton and River roads.
The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, which is doing a good job of informing folks about the progress of the fire on its Facebook page, offers this map featuring the evacuation area, seen in gray:
At this point, we have no reports about homes or structures lost -- or, more importantly, injuries or fatalities. But the smoke plume is clearly visible to a populous portion of southern Jefferson County (I can see it clearly from my house, in the Ken-Caryl Ranch area), causing plenty of frayed nerves to go along with the partially blackened air.
Look below to see more photos of the fire courtesy of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, followed by a number of videos.
Continue to see more photos and videos of the Lime Gulch fire. Continue to see more photos and videos of the Lime Gulch fire.
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More from our News archive circa yesterday: "Update: Robin and Mark Herklotz ID'd as Black Forest fire victims, 509 homes destroyed."