UPDATE | Aug. 21 10 p.m. — Jefferson County Open Space says Deer Creek Canyon Park will reopen on Thursday after a wildfire last week. Rattlesnake Gulch Trail will stay closed for the time being for erosion control.
LITTLETON, Colo. — Fire officials said they are considering the Deer Creek Canyon Park Fire that sparked near the park Thursday afternoon to be human-caused.
The fire was reported just after 4:30 p.m. Thursday and forced residents to evacuate more than 300 homes. Jefferson County Open Space rangers helped move people on the nearby trails out of the area, said Mike Taplin, public information officer with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office. The fire was 100% contained by 1 p.m. Friday, according to JeffCo officials.
After talking with witnesses, authorities believe the fire was caused by a person or people, he said. Witnesses said they heard explosions, saw smoke and noticed two juvenile males running from the area. If you have information on these individuals or anything else that could help with the investigation, call 303-271-0211.
While the fire was relatively small compared to other wildfires in Colorado, Taplin said the responding agencies wanted to fight it aggressively.
"We want to keep small fires small," he said.
Taplin said residents will be able to return to their homes once authorities deem it is safe.
Stacee Martin, public information officer for Evergreen Fire Department, said on last count, the fire was between 20 and 25 acres, though she would have an updated number after a flyover.
She said the fire was considered a dirty burn, which means that while the underbrush vegetation may have caught fire, the underside may still be able to reignite.
Crews worked through Thursday night and Friday morning to keep the fire contained. As of Friday morning, no structures had been damaged and no injuries had been reported, Taplin said. Martin said they were fortunate because the wind shifted Thursday evening, so the fire blew back onto itself.
She said more than 130 firefighters were at the fire. The terrain is steep and rocky, so they must be careful with their footing. They were also keeping an eye out for rattlesnakes, she said.
Both Martin and Taplin said they were watching the weather to keep an eye on shifting winds and possible rain.
Deer Creek Canyon Park, South Valley Park and Hildebrand Ranch Park will remain closed Friday.
Taplin asked the public to not use drones in the area, as it hinders the firefighters' work.