11:49am

Fri June 29, 2012
Wildfire

Smoky Summer: Flagstaff Fire May Burn for Months

As Boulder residents return to areas evacuated because of the Flagstaff fire, officials say they expect the blaze to burn through the summer.

Sean Collins, a representative of the federal "hot shot" team that took over containment efforts on the Flagstaff Fire says while residents have returned to evacuated areas [.pdf], the core of the fire may continue to burn for months.

"It's quite possible that we are going to be seeing smoke in the area for pretty much the rest of the summer."

Collins says residents need to be mindful that crews are not going to be able to put the blaze out completely.

"The goal is to secure the perimeter, and it will continue burning deep inside the middle."

As of Thursday, the Flagstaff fire had burned 300 acres and remains 40 percent contained. Collins says the team's goal is for full containment of the fire by Saturday.

Storms provided some precipitation to the burn area Wednesday and Thursday. However, they also brought lightning, which started three spot fires that were extinguished by crews Thursday night.

Collins says crews will focus today on containing the fire along the challenging eastern edge with its steep terrain. Helicopters will aid the crews by dropping water, fuel and food.

Flagstaff road is now open to normal traffic, according to the Boulder Office of Emergency Management. Bison and Pika loop remain closed.

All City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks property west of Broadway, North from Eldorado Springs Drive to Boulder Canyon remain closed.

According to the Boulder Office of Emergency Management, this includes the following trails and trailheads:

  • South Mesa
  • South Boulder Creek
  • NCAR
  • Shanahan Area trails
  • Bear Canyon
  • Skunk Canyon
  • Enchanted Mesa
  • Chautauqua, and
  • The entirety of the Flagstaff area