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High Winds Fan Wildfire North of Boulder

Smoke from the Lefthand Canyon fire can be seen from a rooftop near 55th and Arapahoe avenues.

Boulder fire officials have lifted some evacuation orders, including Lake of the Pines neighborhood and North Foothills Ranch. Orders have been lifted for residents living along Lefthand Canyon from U.S. 36 to Geer Canyon. Any residents above Geer Canyon are still being kept out. An Evacuation Center has been created at the Boulder YMCA, 2850 Mapleton Ave. Fire officials are requesting that evacuees check in there even if they plan on staying somewhere else. Updated at 6:18 on 3/11/11


An air tanker has started dropping retardant on a wildfire north of Boulder that has grown to at least 300 acres and prompted the evacuation of more than 200 homes. Today’s fire has spread quickly in windy, dry conditions, and is threatening about a dozen structures. 100 firefighters are on scene from multiple agencies and have conducted some backburns around some structures to keep the fire from spreading. A Red Flag Warning is in effect in the area until 6 p.m. A cold front moving into the area is expected to bring higher humidity levels going into the weekend. Updated at 5:00 on 3/11/11


The Lefthand Fire has grown to up to 300 acres in size and an air tanker called in from New Mexico is making slurry drops. Forest Service spokeswoman Maribeth Pecotte says 12 structures are directly threatened by the fire. She added that depending on the weather it could take days to put the fire out. Updated at 4:30 on 3/11/11


The Humane Society of Boulder Valley is opening its doors to provide temporary shelter and care for dogs, cats and small mammals of homeowners evacuated due to the wildfire in Boulder’s Lefthand Canyon. Staff will be at the shelter today at 2323 55th Street in Boulder until 7 p.m. to meet families and take in animals.  For assistance or to report an animal that needs to be evacuated, people should please call 303-413-7730. Updated at 4:00 on 3/11/11


Wind gusts of up to 60 mph earlier in the day have quickly fanned a wildfire to about 200 acres in size. The fire is burning along Lefthand Canyon Drive towards the entrance to the Boulder County Heil Ranch Open Space.

The winds have eased somewhat but may be too much for firefighters to use an air tanker that’s been called in from New Mexico to fight the blaze. The Boulder County Sheriff’s office has order the evacuation of more than 200 homes. The American Red Cross has opened an evacuation center at the YMCA, 2850 Mapleton Ave. in Boulder.

Firefighters also have been battling a smaller wildfire fire in the nearby town of Lyons. The national weather service says the winds and dry conditions have raised the fire danger along the interstate 25 corridor and across much of eastern Colorado. Updated at 3:41 on 3/11/11


Email: brian.larson@kunc.org