Wildfire Near Boulder Forces Thousands of Coloradans From Their Homes

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The fire near Sunshine Canyon in Boulder, Colorado - just west of the downtown area - scorched about 63 acres of land and forced the evacuation of 426 homes as authorities anxious that erratic winds could cause the fire to spread further, the Boulder Office of Emergency Management said Sunday. As a result, firefighters were on guard in case the blaze jumps a containment line.

Authorities made more than 1,000 calls to residents ordering them to evacuate and warned an additional 2,200 to get ready to leave if conditions worsened, said Gabi Boerkircher of the Boulder Office of Emergency Management.

Boulder County Sheriff's Cmdr.

More than 400 homes have been evacuated and at least 800 are on notice, including homes within the city limits of Boulder. The mandatory evacuation remained in place into Monday morning. Because March is outside the typical fire season, Wagner said, there also were fewer wildfire hand crews available to help.

It is now about 20 percent contained, with no injuries or damage to structures reported, according to the Boulder Emergency Operations Center.

Authorities are investigating the cause of the fire.

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Someone spotted the fire on a hillside near Sunshine Canyon and Timber Lane at 1:40 a.m. Sunday and 1,031 notifications went sent out to to 426 homes or properties.

He said he found out about the fire after getting a text from a neighbor early Sunday morning.

Smoke covers Boulder as a wildfire burns near Sunshine Canyon.

Fire officials were expecting a rough day because of high temperatures and windy weather.

Wind was pushing the flames in the wooded area a couple of miles west of Pearl St., the shopping and dining hub in the heart of the university city.

Shannon Cordingly of the Boulder Office of Emergency Management says it's unclear how many homes have been evacuated just west of the university town and how the flames ignited.