Cmdr. Rick Brough with the Boulder County Emergency Management Office says the 92 destroyed structures are spread throughout the fire area. He says it will be several days before any of the 3,500 evacuated residents can begin returning to their homes because trees are falling in the area and power is out in many areas.
The Boulder County Sheriff's Office plans to post a list of addresses that have been destroyed on its website: http://boulderoem.com/.
The Type II emergency management team took over operations at the fire on Tuesday evening. The fire was also designated a Type I fire, which means it is a national priority.
Brough says no homes have been lost in Boulder Heights or in Pinebrook Hills.
A total of 70 subdivisions have been evacuated and the total acreage is estimated at around 7,120 acres. A public meeting for Boulder residents is set for 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday at the Coors Event Center on the University of Colorado campus.
Incident Commander Chief Don Whittemore says hundreds of homes have been saved by fire teams since the fire began. Nine of the homes that were lost belonged to firefighters. They came off the line for awhile after their homes burned.
"It is a testament to their commitment and bravery. While they were out saving someone else's home, theirs is burning down," Whittemore said.
Laura McConnell with the Boulder County Incident Management Team says the air support helped firefighters gain ground on the fire on Tuesday, but there is still no containment on the fire. The fire has had more activity during the afternoon because that is when temperatures are higher, according to McConnell.
The most active part of the fire is on its eastern side.
About 300 to 400 firefighters are working the fire, and McConnell says that number could jump to 600.
Crews were helped when Hot Shot crews arrived on Tuesday. Eight air tankers and two to three helicopters are also helping to fight the fire. Weather conditions improved on Tuesday from Monday's high winds. There was an inversion on Tuesday morning that kept air support grounded, but that has lifted and planes are dropping as many loads on the fire as possible before sunset.
Cause of fire
Earlier, authorities acknowledged a possible cause of the Fourmile Canyon Fire.
"The initial report was that there was an automobile accident in Fourmile Canyon where a car ran into a propane tank and caused it to rupture and started a fire," Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle during a news conference on Tuesday. "That's the best information I have right now, but that's part of what that investigative team is doing for me today is trying to lock all that down and confirm it."
Gov. Bill Ritter and Pelle took a tour of the canyon on Tuesday afternoon, surveying the damage the fire had already caused.
"First of all, pray for rain. That would be helpful," Pelle said.
"We have done a lot in this area over the last couple of years to provide fire mitigation clearing around properties, so we'll see what the results are. The important thing to remember is that this is still a volatile fire," Ritter said.
The fire has forced the mandatory evacuation of about 3,500 residents in the area west of the city of Boulder. Authorities say the evacuation area includes communities east of the Peak-to-Peak Highway, south of Lefthand Canyon Drive and north of Boulder Canyon Drive (Colorado Highway 119). A new shelter has been set up at the YMCA at 28th and Mapleton Streets in Boulder. Evacuees can bring their pets there.
The fire was estimated to be around 3,500 acres on Monday night into Tuesday. The 7,120-acre estimate was taken around 10 a.m. on Tuesday.
The governor says he understands how hard this situation must be for those who have evacuated and may have lost their homes, but says the priority is public safety and the safety of the fire crews over saving any structures.
"It is important right now for people who have been evacuated to just be patient," he said. "So for our purposes, the most important thing is to allow the firefighters to do their business, and that can only happen if they're not having to argue with people about re-evacuating or evacuating from their property."
Pelle says there have been no deaths, missing persons or injuries reported so far, and he credits firefighters with evacuating people quickly and safely. He says he isn't expecting the evacuations to stop anytime soon.
"I do anticipate more evacuations because, as the governor said, we just saw a number of spot fires we've got embers lifting and then dropping," he said. "We've got fires starting some distance from the actual hot zone."
Weather forecast and closures
9NEWS Meteorologist Marty Coniglio says the weather is not expected to change dramatically from Tuesday into Wednesday. There is a small chance for thunderstorms on Wednesday, but he says they won't produce a lot of rain. Marty says the largest threat to the firefighting effort could come later in the week when windy conditions are expected on Thursday and Friday.
Federal resources have been called in to take over fighting the fire. Federal crews from Wyoming, New Mexico and along the Front Range have been ordered in to help.
Ritter has declared the fire a state of emergency and has dedicated $5 million to fighting the blaze.
"It's been since the Hayman Fire where that level of money was committed up front to fighting a fire," Ritter said.
A dozen people spent the night in the Coors Events Center on the University of Colorado-Boulder campus. All other emergency shelters were able to close after evacuated residents made other arrangements to stay with friends or family.
Authorities say large animals that have been displaced can be brought to the Boulder County Fairgrounds in Longmont, while small pets can be temporarily housed at the Longmont and Boulder Valley Humane Societies.
Boulder Reservoir is also closed to the public due to the fire.
The Boulder Valley School District says Nederland Elementary and Nederland Middle/Senior High Schools will be open Wednesday on their regular schedule. Gold Hill and Jamestown elementary schools will remain closed Wednesday due to the fire. For more information, check http://bvsd.org.
According to the Center for Environmental Journalism, the smoke plume from the fire can even be seen from space.
According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the air quality along the Front Range is considered to be unhealthy for sensitive groups due to the smoke from the Fourmile Canyon Fire. For more information, visit http://apcd.state.co.us/advisory.aspx.
List of addresses for structures destroyed or damaged by fire:
Street or Road Street #
Emerson Gulch Rd. 560
Emerson Gulch Rd. 756
Emerson Gulch Rd. 1059
Emerson Gulch Rd. 100-B
Fourmile Canyon 6060
Fourmile Canyon 6130
Melvina Hill Rd. 450
Melvina Hill Rd. 589
Melvina Hill Rd. 611
Melvina Hill Rd. 805
Melvina Hill Rd. 849
Melvina Hill Rd. 1005
Melvina Hill Rd. 1081
Melvina Hill Rd. 1103
Melvina Hill Rd. 1112
Melvina Hill Rd. 1403
Melvina Hill Rd. 1446
Nancy Mine Rd. 280
Nancy Mine Rd. 833
Nancy Mine Rd. 959-B
Sunshine Canyon Rd. 5387
Sunshine Canyon Rd. 5546
Sunshine Canyon Rd. 5595
Sunshine Canyon Rd. 5657
Sunshine Canyon Rd. 5695
Sunshine Canyon Rd. 5779
Sunshine Canyon Rd. 5810
Sunshine Canyon Rd. 5841
Sunshine Canyon Rd. 5847
Sunshine Canyon Rd. 5860
Sunshine Canyon Rd. 5879
Sunshine Canyon Rd. 5881
Sunshine Canyon Rd. 6095
Sunshine Canyon Rd. 6101
Sunshine Canyon Rd. 6138
Sunshine Canyon Rd. 6191
Sunshine Canyon Rd. 6297
Sunshine Canyon Rd. 6299
Sunshine Canyon Rd. 6301
Sunshine Canyon Rd. 6305
Sunshine Canyon Rd. 6309
Sunshine Canyon Rd. 6317
Sunshine Canyon Rd. 6319
Sunshine Canyon Rd. 6601
Sunshine Canyon Rd. 6801
Sunshine Canyon Rd. 6927
Sunshine Canyon Rd. 6927
Sunshine Canyon Rd. 7875
Sunshine Canyon Rd. 7878
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