Wildfire prompts evacuations near Conifer | SummitDaily.com

Wildfire prompts evacuations near Conifer

Howard Pankratz and Kieran Nicholson
The Denver Post
A wildfire near Conifer forced the evacuation of residents in the Foxton Road area on Tuesday May 4, 2010. Reza A. Marvashti / The Denver Post

A wildfire that broke out near U.S. 285 and Foxton Road in Jefferson County prompted the sheriff’s office to send an automated call to 340 homes in the area to evacuate to Conifer High School.

Jacki Kelley of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department said the winds were high and numerous fire departments responded.

By late afternoon, the fire was between 10 and 12 acres and 50 percent contained. Officials announced that residents would be able to return home at 6 p.m., but warned many might be without power.

The American Red Cross had opened an evacuation center at Conifer High School, 10441 Highway 73, and is sending a “mobile feeding vehicle” to provide drinks and snacks for the residents and the first-responders.

Peggy Loper, who lives at the intersection of Foxton and Running Deer Creek Road, said she received an automated call from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department at 12:23 p.m., telling her to evacuate and go to Conifer High School.

She said the message was that “there was a fire in Conifer.”

Loper said that she has a dog and cat and her landlord – who also lives on the mountain property – has a horse and two dogs.

Because of the animals, she said she won’t evacuate until she actually sees flames.

Loper said that at 8 a.m. this morning, she and her husband lost power in the house. She said trucks from the electric provider later drove by her home and power was restored about 10 a.m.

She said that she did not know if the outage was related to the fire.

Costas Lagos, a division manager for Intermountain Rural Electric Association, said there are a number of power lines down in the Conifer area. Between 8 and 10 crews have been sent to Conifer to restore the power, he said. Each crew has three people.

Lagos said that he does not know if any of the downed lines may have sparked the fire.

Lagos said the winds are extremely high and “very unusual.”

In such winds, Cindy Matthews, of the West Metro Fire Protection District, said that her department sent two brush trucks and two fire engines to the fire as well as a district chief and a fire investigator.

Dan Hatlestad, spokesman for Inter-Canyon Fire Rescue in Morrison said his department sent two brush engines to the fire.

The Evergreen Fire Department was fighting a separate fire, a 2-acre blaze west of Evergreen on Upper Bear Creek Road near Nuthatch Road.

Mike Weege, a dispatcher for the Evergreen Fire Department, said the fire was reported at 11:22 a.m.

Weege said the fire was reported near homes in the area, but is currently moving away from the structures.

He said that the Clear Creek Sheriff’s Office has also responded to the blaze.

Howard Pankratz: 303-954-1939 or hpankratz@denverpost.com

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