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Updates: Boulder's Sunshine Canyon Fire, Evacuations

Boulder Office of Emergency Management
Current evacuation area (in green) and pre-evacuation area (in red) due to the Sunshine Fire

Final update 7:30 a.m. 3/21/17:

The Sunshine Fire now 100 percent contained. Wonderland Lake is now open, as aerial fire operations and bucket drops are no longer needed.

Firefighters will continue to work overnight on hotspots and flare-ups; mop-up operations will continue Tuesday.

Updated 12:35 p.m. 3/20/17:

The fire is now 80 percent contained. Evacuated residents can return to their homes. Pre-evacuation orders have also been lifted. To get home residents should go to 4th street and Mapleton, or Sunshine and Mapleton.  The roads are still on soft closure, meaning that only residents with IDs will be allowed to pass.

Updated 8:25 a.m. 3/20/17:

  • The Sunshine fire is holding at 50 percent containment.
  • There is a fire line completely around the fire perimeter. Officials say it could be a dug line, a road or a slurry line.
  • A Red Flag Warning will be in effect until 7 p.m. due to high temperatures and low moisture.
  • Roughly $500,000 was spent on firefighting efforts Sunday alone.
  • There are 178 firefighters and 50 fire apparatus working in the field.

Updated 6:25 a.m. 3/20/17:

  • The Sunshine Fire remains at 62 acres and is now 50 percent contained. There are no reports of lost or damaged properties or any injuries.
  • Firefighters and law enforcement patrols monitored overnight.
  • Evacuations and pre-evacuation alerts remained in place overnight. The number of homes evacuated is 426.
  • The incident Management Team is expected to reevaluate the status of evacuations Monday at 8:00 a.m.

Updated at 5:45 p.m., 3/19/17:

  • Fire remains at 62 acres and 20 percent containment.
  • There have been no reports of injuries or of lost or damaged property.
  • Evacuation orders remain in effect.

During an update issued at 5 p.m., Boulder emergency officials stated that the Sunshine fire remains at 62 acres and at 20 percent containment. Officials will be monitoring overnight winds. Firefighters continue to fight flare-ups in the interior of the fire and will maintain an overnight presence.

426 homes have been evacuated since pre-dawn, and officials say the orders are not expected to be lifted overnight. Residents in pre-evacuation areas are asked to remain on alert in the event evacuations are ordered. Orders will be evaluated at 8 a.m. on March 20. 

Officials ask evacuees or those in pre-evacuation monitor updates at their website, on Twitter and on Facebook.

Updated at 3:15 p.m., 3/19/17:

  • Estimate 62 acres (previously reported as higher due to mapping miscalculation)
  • Current estimate is 20% containment
  • 7 aircraft active
  • No reports of loss of property, structures, or of any injuries.
  • Evacuation and pre-evacuation notices are still in place.

Public Call Center line is open for non-emergency calls. 303-413-7730.

Westbound Boulder Canyon Drive is now open west of Boulder all the way to Nederland. It remains closed from the 100 to 800 blocks of Canyon for emergency vehicle parking inside Boulder.

Credit Boulder Office of Emergency Management
Boulder Office of Emergency Management
This map indicates the current 20 percent containment in the area of Sunshine Canyon Dr. and Centennial Trail

Betasso Preserve and Bald Mountain Open Spaces as well as Boulder OSMP trails in the Red Rocks, Sanitas, Sunshine Canyon and Wonderland Lake areas are closed.

A Red Flag Warning remains in effect for the until 7:00 p.m. according to the National Weather Service.


Updated at 1:30 p.m., 3/19/17:

  • The Sunshine fire is estimated to be 62 acres (previously reported as higher due to mapping miscalculation).
  • Current estimate is 20% containment.
  • A total of eight aircraft are fighting the fire from the air: a heavy air tanker, two Chinook helicopters and two Blackhawk helicopters from the National Guard, one SEAT from Fort Collins, one Lead and one MMA.
  • No reports of loss of property, structures, or of any injuries.
  • Boulder Canyon is closed at 9th street, westbound until further notice. 

Our original post from 12:30 p.m. 3/19/17 continues below:

Fire crews are battling a wildfire in Sunshine Canyon west of Boulder.  

The fire is currently estimated at 106 acres, with 0 percent containment. More than 1,000 homes have been evacuated, according to the Boulder Office of Emergency Management.

The fire was reported at about 2:30 a.m. Sunday, and is burning in the Sunshine Canyon area west of Boulder. It’s being fanned by wind gusts up to 40 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

Emergency officials say air crews are dropping slurry and water.

Traffic is being re-routed on a portion of Boulder Canyon Drive for structure protection and air support. Officials have asked drivers to avoid the area if possible.

Traffic is being re-routed at 6th down Arapahoe and then back onto Boulder Canyon Drive.

Credit Boulder Office of Emergency Management
Boulder Office of Emergency Management
Map indicating where traffic is being detoured off part of Boulder Canyon Drive

Residents ordered to evacuate can go to the East Boulder Community Center, 5660 Sioux Drive.

The Boulder Office of Emergency Management issued this briefing at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 19. 

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