IDAHO SPRINGS, Colo. — High winds and dry conditions hampered efforts to put down a fire that prompted limited evacuations and destroyed at least two structures near Idaho Springs. The Miner's Candle Fire was estimated at around 20 acres Sunday.
The fire forced deputies to make door-to-door evacuations in the following areas:
- Miner's Candle
- Lamartine Road
- Sunny Skies Trail
- Trail Creek Road
People were evacuated from 20 to 25 structures, and there were no reported injuries. Those evacuation orders remain in place overnight. The two structures destroyed included an abandoned cabin and a vacant home.
According to the sheriff's office, anyone who needs to seek shelter can go to the Clear Creek District Building, or the old high school, at 320 Hwy 103. Denver7 reporter Pattrik Perez arrived at the evacuation center and spoke with Bill Miner, who said he had just minutes to grab his belongings and go.
"EMS people came by and knocked on the door and said there's a fire and we had 30 minutes to mandatory evacuate," Miner said. "Five minutes later, he came back and said, 'Make that 15 minutes.' So we grabbed the dog and, you know, cell phone, and that's about it."
People who need to evacuate animals can go to the football field in Idaho Springs, according to a post from the Gilpin County Sheriff's Office.
Multiple agencies helped to fight the fire, and the Clear Creek County Sheriff's Office alerted nearby residents to emergency vehicles and increased traffic in the area.
Undersheriff Bruce Snelling said the high winds prevented bringing in any air assets.
"There's probably 25 wildland firefighting crews from six different agencies that are currently trying to get some type of containment on the fire," Snelling said.
By early afternoon, winds decreased, and the fire was "burning less actively," but the evacuation was still in place, according to the Clear Creek County Office of Emergency Management.
The weather conditions have continued to be a mixed bag for fire crews providing some help.
"It's pushed that fire kind of down to the ground. So that's been a benefit to the people that are up there fighting the fire," Snelling said.
As of 5 p.m., the fire was under 50% containment, Clear Creek OEM said.
The fire was first reported at around 6:15 a.m. Sunday off Mill Creek. A reverse 911 call went out to residents around 9 a.m. Sunday. High winds and dry conditions are fueling the wildfire risk on Sunday.
"This is the first time I remember, at least in my career — literally, I've been up here for 14 years — that we've had to fight a fire in December," Snelling said.
A High Wind Warning is in effect for an area west of Denver and into the mountains.
Sustained winds could be around 30-40 mph with gusts as high as 70 mph. A Red Flag warning is also in effect.
Jeff Anastasio and Pattrik Perez at KMGH first reported this story.