Crews race to contain wildfire before thunderstorms move in |

Crews race to contain wildfire before thunderstorms move in

Daily Staff Writer

PINE – A wildfire in a grassy foothills valley was 60 percent contained Monday as crews raced to encircle the blaze before predicted thunderstorms moved in.Managers raised the estimate of the fire’s size to 120 acres, up from 80 acres, mostly due to more accurate mapping, Jefferson County sheriff’s spokesman Jim Shires said.Firefighters hoped to contain the blaze before it could climb out of the valley and into timber.”If it spreads up the hill into a forest area, we could have a whole different ball game,” Shires said.Three families who were evacuated Sunday spent the night in motel rooms, but authorities hoped they could be allowed to return home later Monday. Residents of up to 370 houses had been allowed back in on Sunday after an evacuation advisory on their homes was lifted.About 80 firefighters were on hand, and a single-engine tanker and a helicopter were available, Shires said. No structures had burned and no injuries were reported.The fire was about 35 miles southwest of Denver, in the same area where the Hi Meadow wildfire burned more than 10,000 acres and destroyed nearly 40 homes in 2000.A fire on the Commanche National Grassland and nearby state and private land in southeastern Colorado blackened 1,500 acres before it was contained late Sunday. No structures were threatened, fire spokeswoman Cass Cairns said.A 530-acre wildfire on the Southern Ute reservation in southwestern Colorado was fully contained on Sunday.

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