BOULDER, Colo. - Evacuation orders were issued Saturday after a wildfire quickly developed near the National Center for Atmospheric Research facility in Boulder, Colorado, forcing more than 19,000 people from their homes.
Officials said the NCAR Fire has burned more than 120 acres but the combination of dry brush and winds could cause the blaze to continue to grow.
The Boulder Police Department contacted communities south of the city to leave immediately.
Evacuation orders also included the University of Colorado Boulder’s South Campus.
Emergency management estimated that nearly 8,000 homes were told to evacuate.
Two shelters were opened on Saturday evening for evacuees.
The NCAR fire burns in the foothills south of the National Center for Atmospheric Research on March 26, 2022 in Boulder, Colorado. The NCAR fire prompted evacuations in south Boulder and pre-evacuation warning for Eldorado Springs. The wildfire broke
Firefighters have not been able to contain the blaze and air assets were sent to the scene to help with the fire fight.
Winds gusted to around 30 mph on Saturday and the humidity value dropped below 15 percent, creating favorable fire conditions.
Authorities said no homes have been damaged by the fire and credited fuel mitigation efforts for keeping the blaze from becoming destructive.
The area is not far away from where the Marshall Fire destroyed thousands of acres and hundreds of homes in December.
Authorities do not know what sparked the fire but encourage anyone near trails around the NCAR to give them a call at 720-564-2679, if they saw anything that might be helpful to the investigation.
Conditions are ripe for fires across large parts of the Plains and the West due to an ongoing drought.
A storm system that will trek across the country will provide much needed rain and snow in the Golden State on Tuesday.
Most of the West is dealing with drought conditions. (FOX Weather)