Residents return home after fleeing NCAR Fire
Nearly 20,000 people who were forced to flee the NCAR Fire were back home Monday after firefighters were able to stop the spread of the fire at 190 acres.
The fire that broke out Saturday in the rolling hills near Boulder burned to within 1,000 yards of homes on the west end of the college town, near the area where more than 1,000 homes were destroyed by a wildfire pushed by strong winds in late December. This time, winds did not prevent aircraft from being used and they were able to lay down lines of fire retardant near homes.
Containment lines surrounded 35% of the fire Monday. Those lines were expected to hold despite winds caused by a shift in the weather that is forecast to bring rain Tuesday, incident commander Brian Oliver said.
Firefighters were trying to extinguish embers in the burned area, working them into the soil which is moist from recent snowfall, he said. The grass which burned, however, was still dormant and dry. Pockets of smoke hung over some trees in the burn area, which would likely continue for some weeks and be monitored, Oliver said.
Previously a summer staple, wildfires are becoming a year-round occurrence in the West, as drier weather and extreme temperatures grow across much of the region.
Winter precipitation helped ease the severity of the dry fall that preceded December's destructive fire in Colorado. However, a heat wave engulfed Western states in recent days. In Boulder County, the temperature hit 78 degrees Fahrenheit, more than 20 degrees above average highs. Meanwhile, temperatures in southern Arizona and across Texas shot into the 90s.
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