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Amid strong winds in Boulder County, fast-moving grass fires force evacuations, destroy homes

Marshall Fire grows to 1,600 acres; hundreds of structures lost
marshall fire dec 30 2021
boulder county fires dec 30 2021
Boulder County fire at McCaslin and Washington_Eric English_Dec 30 2021
Boulder fire_Chris Holder.jpg
Boulder County wildfires_Dec 30 2021
Posted at 11:54 AM, Dec 30, 2021
and last updated 2022-01-05 13:36:52-05

UPDATE: Click here to read Denver7's live blog from Friday.

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BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. — Multiple growing and fast-moving grass fires have forced evacuations in Boulder County as strong winds continue to blow through the area and spread the fire to homes.

The Boulder County Office of Emergency Management is telling residents to evacuate if they see fire. The OEM instructs residents to go east or north. All of Superior and Louisville have been evacuated. Parts of Broomfield and Arvada are under pre-evacuation notices (details below).

Evacuations are in effect for this mapped area (below) of Boulder County.

Evacuations are also in effect for the mapped areas of Broomfield County (below). Click here for more.

The fire of main concern as of Thursday afternoon and evening is the Marshall Fire, which started around S. Cherryvale Road and Marshall Drive. It had destroyed more than 500 structures as of Thursday evening, the Boulder County sheriff said.

Hundreds of homes destroyed in Boulder County wildfires

Evacuation points are at the North Boulder Recreation Center (3170 Broadway, Boulder), Longmont Senior Center (910 Longs Peak Avenue, Longmont), Rocky Mountain Christian Church (9447 Niwot Road, Longmont) 1STBANK Center (11450 Broomfield Lane, Broomfield) and YMCA of Northern Colorado (2800 Dagny Way, Lafayette).

The evacuation centers at the North Boulder Rec Center, Rocky Mountain Christian Church and Lafayette YMCA will provide shelter overnight – with cots and food service being organized as of 7:30 p.m. The evacuation centers also serve as reunification points for families.

Click here to sign up for emergency alerts in Colorado. You can call the Boulder County Emergency Call Center at 303-413-7730. The Community Foundation Boulder County has set up a Boulder County Wildfire Fund for people wanting to donate in relation to the Marshall Fire and Middle Fork Fire.

Below are live updates from this fire:

11:55 p.m. | Mandatory evacuation and pre-evacuation orders for Broomfield have been lifted. Broomfield police tweeted residents can return home.

11:17 p.m. | Here is the latest updates from our 10 p.m. newscast. We will continue to provide updates through Friday morning on the fire and what we learn. Check back here for the latest and watch Denver7 and Denver7+ starting at 4:30 a.m. for live on-the-ground updates.

In-Depth coverage of the Marshall Fire that destroyed more than 500 homes in Colorado

`11:14 p.m. | Westminster says the Meadow View neighborhood is no longer under evacuation status. Only Boulder County areas remain under evacuation orders, according to the city.

10:40 p.m. | The Boulder Office of Emergency Management call center will close at 11:30 p.m. Thursday and reopen at 9 a.m. on Friday, OEM said. Residents outside of Boulder County are encouraged to call their counties for information.

10:24 p.m. | You can donate to Thursday's fire victims through the Denver7 Gives Fund. Just click here and select “December Wildfires” in the drop-down menu below or by clicking in the image below. One hundred percent of the proceeds will go toward the families affected by the wildfire.

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Use the QR code to donate to the fire victims through Denver7 Gives.

10:09 p.m. | Good Samaritan Medical Center says it has halted patient transfers after fire conditions improved in the area and after sign-off from Boulder County officials.

The hospital said around 54 patients were transferred to other area SCL Health hospitals and that 100 patients remain at Good Samaritan with their caregivers – all safe. More physicians and nurses have been brought in to the facilities where the other patients were transferred.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the Good Samaritan Hospital teams began transferring patients when the Marshall Fire got within three blocks of the facility. The safe and efficient transfer would not have been possible without the support of many local EMS and public safety departments. We are grateful for their work,” the hospital said in a statement.

The hospital’s emergency department will stay closed Thursday night, and other hospital services have been paused until at least Friday.

“The Good Samaritan Medical Center’s Incident Command teams are actively monitoring the situation if further action is needed,” the hospital said.

9:42 p.m. | The Boulder Office of Emergency Management asked people just before 9:40 p.m. to stop calling the call center if they are outside of Boulder County.

“If you live outside of Boulder County you are NOT in any danger at this time. Please do not call the Call Center at this time. Call takers are overwhelmed and there is no danger to other counties at this time. As always, stay alert to your surroundings,” OEM tweeted.

9:40 p.m. | Pre-evacuation orders for Arvada – including Highway 93 to Alkire Street from 96th Ave. to 82nd Ave – have been lifted, according to Arvada police.

“Please remain prepared should conditions change. There are NO pre-evacuation orders in Arvada at this point,” the police department said.

9:30 p.m. | People who wish to open their homes to displaced residents can sign up through the Boulder Office of Emergency Management to become a vetted Airbnb host through the Open Homes Program. The OEM is also encouraging household items be donated to thrift stores. Click here for more information.

A Facebook group has been started for lost and found pets due to the fire. There is also a group for horse relocation. The American Red Cross also has resources available.

9:11 p.m. | The Federal Emergency Management Agency has authorized federal funds for use to help firefighting costs for the Marshall Fire, approving the state’s Fire Management Assistance Grant request earlier in the afternoon.

The authorization allows for FEMA funding to cover 75% of the state’s firefighting costs.

9:05 p.m. | Westminster Calvary church says it is open for evacuees, located at 10138 Wadsworth Blvd., Suite 1000, Westminster.

The Riverdale Animal Shelter (12155 Park Blvd., Brighton) says it is accepting displaced pets and large animals. People can click here or call 303-288-1535 for more information.

8:41 p.m. | The Boulder Office of Emergency Management has now issued mandatory evacuation notices for the Meadow View neighborhood from 107th Ave. west of Country Side Drive.

We have a new story up with the latest evacuation zones and shelters. Find more by clicking here.

8:24 p.m. | Gov. Polis is telling people not to drive toward the fire to watch and get in the way.

“We are getting reports of clogged roads from onlookers. Also, it’s very dangerous,” the governor said. “Stay clear of the areas with fires and let our firefighters and first responders do their work.”

7:55 p.m. | Per the Boulder Office of Emergency Management, these are the road closures in place as of 7:50 p.m.:

  • Highway 93 (South Foothills) and Marshall Road (Hwy 170) – no access to the east of this intersection
  • Marshall Road and Marshall Road (Hwy 170) – no access to the south or east of this location
  • South Cherryvale Rd and South Boulder Rd. (Hwy 170) – no access onto Hwy 170 (Marshall Rd)
  • South Boulder Rd to cover South 68th – no access to the south
  • South Boulder Rd and Barcelona Dr. – no access to the south
  • South Boulder Rd. and Paragon Dr. – no access to the south
  • Marshall Road (Hwy 170) and McCaslin Boulevard – no access to any locations to the south, west or east
  • Coal Creek Dr and McCaslin Boulevard – no access to the west
  • McCaslin Boulevard and Hwy 128 – no access to the north into Superior
  • Coalton Rd and S. Tyler Dr – no access to the west or to the north; there are other areas to get into Superior
  • Flat Iron Crossing Dr and Autrey Dr – no access to the west on Autrey which has access to Bell flatiron Apartments
  • S. 88th St. the nearest intersection south of Highway 36 – no access to the west on East Weldona or to the south into Superior on South 88th; this intersection is approximately 200 yards north of the intersection of South 88th and Shamrock Dr
  • Dillon / Coal Creek EB traffic 415
  • Washington / Willow 416
  • Dillon / 88th 438
  • 96th / Dillon 446
  • Hwy 36 / Table Mesa

7:50 p.m. | Officials have ordered a boil water notice for all Louisville residents to boil their water before drinking it until further notice.

7:30 p.m. | A statement from Boulder County Reps. Matt Gray, D-Broomfield; Judy Amabile, D-Boulder; Tracey Bernett, D-Louisville; Edie Hooton, D-Boulder; and Karen McCormick, D-Longmont:

“We are devastated to see the destruction from the fires in Boulder County, and we are heartbroken over the losses so many of our neighbors are experiencing tonight. We are truly grateful for the first responders bravely working to save homes and communities, and our prayers are with them and everyone trying to evacuate tonight. Please be safe, listen to instructions from Boulder OEM, and keep first responders and everyone in the path of these fires in your thoughts tonight.”

7:16 p.m. | Westminster police said the Westminster Dog Park and the Meadow View area near 107th and Simms are under pre-evacuation orders, as 19 homes in Meadow View are within the city limits.

Police said a Code Red notification would be sent out and officers would be going door-to-door to notify residents.

7:08 p.m. | There are now updated interactive evacuation maps for Boulder and Broomfield counties. Click on the respective links or scroll up for the latest.

7:02 p.m. | Congressman Joe Neguse, D-Lafayette, issued a statement calling today’s fires in his district “unprecedented” and urging everyone to follow the evacuation notices and guidance from the Office of Emergency Management.

“Our office stands ready to assist families, local and state officials in any way that we can. I remain in close touch with Governor Polis and local and federal partners to ensure that every resource. Is made available to assist our communities in evacuation, fire management and recovery. We are keeping our firefighters and all those impacted in our prayers as we grapple with these terrible and life-threatening fires,” Neguse said.

6:49 p.m. | About 30 people have arrived at the North Boulder Recreation Center after evacuating from the Boulder County wildfires. One Louisville man says he was dumbfounded when the whole city had to be evacuated.

Louisville resident describes rush to evacuate from wildfires

6:39 p.m. | The mandatory evacuation in Broomfield now includes the area west of Simms Street to Indiana Street and south of Highway 128, according to police. Skystone remains under pre-evacuation orders.

Wildfire ravages Boulder County

In Arvada, pre-evacuation orders were given around 6 p.m. for the Candelas, Leyden Rock and Whisper Creek areas.

6:38 p.m. | The Salvation Army says it will be providing 1,000 meals three times a day at the Lafayette YMCA.

“We are deeply saddened by this tragic situation and the loss of homes in this community. We are prepared to support the communities of Boulder, Louisville and Superior in anyway needed” said Salvation Army Divisional Commander Major Mike Dickinson.

6:37 p.m. | The YMCA of Northern Colorado said just before 6 p.m. it needed oxygen tanks for people forced to evacuate from hospitals. People who have extras can drop them off at the Arapahoe YMCA, located at 2800 Dagny Way in Lafayette.

6:36 p.m. | The Boulder County Office of Emergency Management says the evacuation centers at the North Boulder Rec Center, Rocky Mountain Christian Church and Lafayette YMCA will provide shelter overnight, with cots and food on their way.

6:10 p.m. | The. Boulder Office of Emergency Management says the Boulder County Fairgrounds animal evacuation site is full. People with animals are asked to bring them to the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, located at 15200 W 6th Ave. Frontage Road in Golden.

The Foothills Animal Shelter said as of 5:45 p.m. that it was prepared to shelter pets for people within mandatory evacuation zones and in Jefferson County. The address for the shelter is 580 McIntyre Street in Golden.

Jeffco Fairgrounds opens to assist with wildfire evacuees with animals

6 p.m. | Gov. Jared Polis said the National Guard has been activated and federal assistance has been approved to help people impacted by the wildfires devastating Boulder County.

National Guard activated to assist with response to Boulder County wildfires

5:17 p.m. | During a press conference, Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle said Thursday had been a "harrowing" day for Boulder residents. Tens of thousands of people in the area have been evacuated and hundreds of structures — both homes and businesses — have been lost, officials said. Officials said they believe about 580 homes were lost as of now — 370 in Superior proper and 210 in Old Town Superior.

Pelle said both fires started early this morning, with the Middle Fork Fire first reported at 10:30 a.m. Officials attacked this one relatively fast and it laid down, he said. The second, the Marshall Fire, was reported around 11 a.m. and has spread to about 1,600 acres.

Boulder County fire dec 30 2021

He said by their initial estimates, about 370 homes in the Sagamore Subdivision have been lost, which is west of Superior. Potentially 200 homes in Old Town in Superior are "gone," he said. The Target Shopping Complex and Element Hotel are also destroyed.

The sheriff said downed power lines from the high winds today may have started the fire, but this remains under investigation.

Hundreds of homes destroyed in Boulder County wildfires

Pelle said the weather looks much more favorable for firefighting on Friday and winds will die down, so crews will have a chance to contain it.

When it is safe to do so, he said they will start to assess the damage. At least one hospital and many healthcare facilities have been evacuated.

5:16 p.m. | A mandatory evacuation order is now in place for all residents south of US 36 to 112th and west of Wadsworth in Broomfield, including the Interlocken area. The Skystone neighborhood is also under pre-evacuation orders.

5:09 a.m. | Pre-evacuations have been ordered by the Arvada Police Department the Candelas, Leyden Rock, and Whisper Creek communities due to the Marshall Fire.

4:50 p.m. | Video from Denver7 crew on the outskirts of Superior shows homes being engulfed by flames.

Louisville homes near Coal Creek Golf Course threatened by wildfire

4:44 p.m. | A resident evacuated from the Boulder County wildfires is holding out hope that the winds stop and her family's home is spared from the devastation. She spoke with Denver7 at the South Boulder Rec Center.

Emergency shelters fill up with residents evacuating Boulder County wildfires

4:20 p.m. | Superior Mayor Clint Folsom says more than 200 structures, including residences, have likely burned in the fire. It is not yet clear how many have been damaged versus destroyed.

4:16 p.m. | All patients and staff have been evacuated from Avista Adventist Hospital in Louisville. Anybody with inquiries about the whereabouts of their loved ones and family can call 303-661-1848.

4 p.m. | The Denver Fire Department is deploying crews to assist with the fires in Superior by sending multiple engines and apparatuses.

4 p.m. | Though no official total has been announced, photos and videos confirm homes are going up in flames from fast-moving Boulder County wildfires.

Chilling photo shows homes on fire off McCaslin Boulevard

3:51 p.m. | Due to a power outage at South Boulder Recreation Center, the replacement evacuation center is North Boulder Recreation Center (NBRC), 3170 Broadway. Anyone needing evacuation resources can head to NBRC.

3:39 p.m. | Flames from Boulder County wildfires appear to be approaching a Superior neighborhood.

Boulder County wildfires approaching homes in Superior

3:30 p.m. | Deputy Fire Marshal Kelly Michelle Kelly describes wildfire conditions from Boulder County wildfires and reminds residents to evacuate and stay out of wildfire areas.

Deputy fire marshal describes conditions from Boulder County wildfires

3:29 p.m. | Broomfield Police Department has opened a shelter at the First Bank Center located at 11450 Broomfield Lane. Residents who evacuated from Louisville, Boulder, and Superior can head that way. Broomfield does not have any mandatory evacuation orders in place, though pre-evacuation orders are in effect for residents at the Caliber at Flatirons Apartments, Retreat at Flatirons Apartments, Terracina of Broomfield Apartments, Vantage Point Apartments, Holiday Inn Express, and the Hyatt House in Broomfield.

3:28 p.m. | UCHealth has confirmed that they have received six patients at UCHealth Broomfield Hospital in connection to these fires. Their conditions are unknown.

UCHealth Broomfield confirms they're treating 6 patients from wildfires

3:25 p.m. | Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle will hold a media briefing at 5 p.m. We will bring you that press conference live.

3:15 p.m. | Gov. Jared Polis declared a state of emergency due to fires around the Front Range.

Gov. Polis declares state of emergency for Boulder County wildfires

This allows the state to access disaster emergency funds to support the emergency response efforts in Boulder and provide state resources including the use of the Colorado National Guard, Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control and activation of the State Emergency Operations Center.

3:08 p.m. | Denver7 reporter Sloan Dickey shows evacuation from a neighborhood just south of Superior.

Lines of cars work to evacuate from Superior due to wildfires

2:57 p.m. | Denver7 reporter and anchor Bayan Wang is near the border of Superior where thick, white smoke continues to billow into the air from Boulder County wildfires.

Smoke visible from the outskirts of Superior continues to billow from Boulder County wildfires

2:50 p.m. | Pre-evacuation orders are in effect for residents at the Caliber at Flatirons Apartments, Retreat at Flatirons Apartments, Terracina of Broomfield Apartments, Vantage Point Apartments, Holiday Inn Express, and the Hyatt House in Broomfield. See the map below for details.
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2:50 p.m. | As of now, these fires are not threatening Arvada, however the city and its police department are monitoring the situation. If you see flames near you, call 911.

2:43 p.m. | Xcel Energy says its crews are working to restore power that was knocked out by the wind. However, they are working in extreme conditions due to the several fires around Boulder County. As of now, 24,100 customers are without power around Boulder County and Broomfield County.

Boulder fires_Paige Narum

2:43 p.m. | Boulder OEM is asking residents to stop calling to offer donations, as lines need to stay clear for emergencies.

2:42 p.m. | City of Boulder firefighter Brad Lupher explains how firefighters will attack wildfires during intense firefighting conditions.

'These are the worst conditions I've seen': Boulder firefighter describes firefighting, evacuation efforts

2:37 p.m. | Denver7's Chief Meteorologist Mike Nelson says a 115 mph gust just hit Rocky Flats.

2:31 p.m. | Thick, black smoke can be seen from McCaslin Boulevard billowing into the sky from Boulder County wildfires. Learn more from Denver7's Sloan Dickey, who is at the scene.

Smoke billowing from Boulder County wildfires

2:30 p.m. | West Metro Fire has sent 10 firefighters to Boulder County to help with the firefighting efforts. Below is what the command post looks like near Superior.

2:17 p.m. | The City of Louisville is now under evacuation, according to the Boulder Office of Emergency Management. Leave quickly if you're in the area. Denver7 reporter Russell Haythorn shows evacuations from 96th Street and Dylan Road.

City of Louisville residents ordered to evacuate for fast-moving wildfires

2:16 p.m. | Sarah Adcock, a Denver7 employee, was evacuated during the fire. She lives in Superior.

She said she learned about the fire through a Superior Facebook group before turning to the news for details.

"We just packed up as much stuff as we could, helped our neighbors get their stuff out, and we're currently on 36 heading out," she said.

Denver7 employee describes evacuation from Superior

She said US 36 has been moving since she evacuated.

2:02 p.m. | US 36 is now closed in both directions between Interlocken Loop to Baseline Road, and from Nebo Rd to CO 66.

Alan Koran_bou

1:58 p.m. | Mountain View Fire Rescue says people living on the southwest side of Boulder County need to go onto the county's website and sign up for Everbridge to get emergency alerts. The group says to leave the area if you see fire and not to wait for an evacuation alert. People in the southwest Boulder area should drive north or east.

Fire in Boulder home_Mark Fearer

1:55 p.m. | Winds appears slightly calmer in Louisville at the intersection of Dylan Road and 96th Street, but smoke is still filling the air.

1:50 p.m. | The city of Louisville is not under evacuation as of now.

Smoke from nearby wildfires fills the air in Louisville

1:48 p.m. | Colorado Gov. Jared Polis tweeted about the wildfires, saying he is praying for the thousands of families who are evacuating.

"Fast winds are spreading flames quickly and all aircraft are grounded," he tweeted.

1:47 p.m. | Strong winds are blowing a mix of dust and smoke in the air around Boulder County. This is a view from McCaslin by the dog park.

1:41 p.m. | A second evacuation center has opened up at the Lafayette YMCA, located at 2800 Dagny Way in Lafayette.

1:39 p.m. | Broomfield residents do not need to evacuate and is not on pre-evacuation notice as of now. The Broomfield Police Department says it has opened the Emergency Operations Center and is watching the situation closely

1:30 p.m. | Broomfield and southeastern Boulder counties including Louisville, Superior, Lafayette and Broomfield are under air quality health advisories due to the wildfire smoke. This will last until 8 p.m.

1:04 p.m. | The Boulder Police Department is asking drivers to stay off the roads as the smoke is making it hard to see and the roads are becoming clogged. First responders are trying to move around the traffic.

1 p.m. | The entire Town of Superior is under evacuation notice due to growing and fast-moving fires in the area. Eastbound US 36 is open for evacuees. All westbound lanes are closed.

12:46 p.m. | The Marshall Fire has closed Highway 93 at County Road 170.

12:17 p.m. | The Boulder Emergency Operations Center has been activated to respond to the fires.

12:15 p.m. | Denver7's James Dougherty shared this video from Louisville.

12:13 p.m. | Denver7 photojournalist Eric English captured this video from Cherryvale Road.

11:38 a.m. | Highway 93 is closed in both directions between Highway 170 near Superior and Hogback Road near Golden due to multiple crashes and high wind. Several high-profile vehicles have been blown over due to the wind, according to Colorado State Patrol.

11:45 a.m. | Several wildfires were reported in Boulder County. It's not clear how all of the Boulder County fires started, but at least a few began after power lines were blown down, the Boulder County Sheriff's Office said.

11:18 a.m. | Both directions of US 36 (Boulder Turnpike) are closed between Nolan Drive near Lyons and Longhorn Road near Boulder due to fire danger.

This is a rapidly developing story and will be updated.