The City of Boulder has lifted the pre-evacuation notice for the neighborhoods in southwest Boulder.
A combination of more favorable weather conditions and the effectiveness of fire fighting efforts has decreased concern for the Flagstaff Fire to move into the City of Boulder neighborhoods.
The fire is now estimated to be 30 percent contained. However, the city encourages residents to continue to be on alert if conditions change.
Residents in areas bounded by Dartmouth Avenue to the north, Greenbriar Boulevard to the south, Table Mesa Drive and the foothills on the west, and Broadway on the east were asked Tuesday to be ready to evacuate.
Firefighters have snuffed all but one small lightning strike fires that began in the Boulder County foothills on Wednesday afternoon, an official said.
An electrical storm sparked four small fires, but fire crews quickly extinguished three of them, the Boulder Office of Emergency Management said.
Fire crews were en route to the fourth lightning-strike fire in the Eldorado Springs area, south of Shanahan Ridge, emergency managers said just before 5 p.m..
There was also some minor rain-related flooding in the Gold Run area, where the 2010 Fourmile Canyon Fire burned away trees and ground cover, a county official said.
Meanwhile, officials say 250 firefighters are making progress on the 230-acre Flagstaff Fire, which was started by a lightning strike on Tuesday afternoon. It is burning in Upper Skunk Canyon, just north and west of the National Center for Atmospheric Research.
A Type 1 federal incident management team was on scene Wednesday and preparing to take over firefighting command at 6 a.m. Thursday, said Boulder city spokeswoman Kim Kobel. That makes the Flagstaff Fire one of the highest priority wildfires in the country.
By midday Wednesday, it appeared as if firefighters had made some progress, using heavy equipment and hand crews to carve fire lines around the Devils Thumb neighborhood.
Crews were also constructing a three-quarter mile long fire line near Shanahan Ridge to protect homes in that area, Kobel said.
City officials said they will credit the water bills of residents asked to run sprinklers systems around homes in the pre-evacuation area to reduce the fire threat. Officials said the use of this water is seen as fire fighting support.
Also, a small amount of rain was falling in the area.
The fire is 1.5 miles from the city limits, and had crossed the ridge around 11 a.m. Wednesday.
Two structure protection groups are being created. One will also be assigned to the Flagstaff area and the other will be assigned to the NCAR area, just in case they are needed.
"Due to weather and terrain, operations will be mostly from the air today," officials from Boulder's Office of Emergency Management said Wednesday.
Seven aircraft helped fight the fire. The air support included two heavy tankers, two large Type 1 helicopters (heli-tankers) and a smaller Type 3 helicopter, officials said.
The fire is burning in steep terrain.
Only the original 28 homes that were evacuated on Tuesday on Flagstaff and Bison drives remain evacuated.
An evacuation center is located at East Boulder Community Center, 5660 Sioux Drive. People affected by the fire who need information are encouraged to go to that location. Twelve people stayed there Tuesday night.
All Pets Animal Hospital, 5290 Manhattan Circle, 303-499-5335, is open 24 hours and is accepting small animals. In the case of an evacuation, small animals can be dropped off at All Pets if their owners are unable to take them with them in the case of an evacuation.
Road closures on Flagstaff Road from Baseline up to the 6000 block, and on Bison Drive from the 800 to 5100 block, remain in place.
The Emergency Operations Center has activated a call center for residents and others impacted by the fire to obtain information. The phone number is 303-413-7730.
Residents can also get information on Boulder's Office of Emergency Management website: http://boulderoem.com/emergency-status
Boulder Cancels July 4 Fireworks Show
The unprecedented fire danger has caused Boulder to cancel its Independence Day fireworks show, Kobel said.
She said fire officials were so concerned about wildfires that a truck with three firefighters has been patrolling each day from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. to provide a quick response.
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