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Gusty Winds Ground Air Attack on Indian Gulch Fire

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Kirk Siegler
One of three air tankers grounded by gust winds.

Gusty winds are hampering crews as they struggle to get the upper hand on a large wildfire west of Golden. Air tankers did drop fire retardant and water on the 1,200 acre Indian Gulch Fire this morning, but the air attack has been grounded.

During a press briefing at the Rocky Mountain Metro airport, Air Tanker Base manager Mark Michelsen says the weather has been a serious factor.

"For right now the biggest thing that’s our concern is actually the winds at this point, and it’s more on a safety issue and an overall retardant issue. If we can’t be effective – it’s actually better for us to hold and wait,” Michelesn said.

Three air tankers and 200 firefighters are battling the blaze which is burning through tinder dry brush and grass in the steep hills just above Golden. It’s threatening homes and some businesses in the heavily populated Golden Gate Canyon area. A national incident commandment team will take over management of the fire tonight.

Kirk Siegler reports for NPR, based out of NPR West in California.
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