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Colorado wildfire forces evacuation orders for 19,000 people

Smoke billows from a wildfire on Saturday in Marshall, Colo. a few miles south of Boulder, Colo.
Dave Zelio
/
AP
Smoke billows from a wildfire on Saturday in Marshall, Colo. a few miles south of Boulder, Colo.

BOULDER, Colo. — Authorities issued an evacuation order for 19,000 people Saturday near a fast-moving Colorado wildfire in rolling hills south of the college town of Boulder, not far from the site of a destructive 2021 blaze that leveled more than 1,000 homes.

The wildfire had grown to 123 acres by late afternoon with no containment, according to the Boulder Office of Emergency Management. Evacuation orders covered 8,000 homes.

Protected wildland was burning near the Table Mesa neighborhood and the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder police said on Twitter. Authorities have called it the NCAR fire.

The fire is in an area where a blaze destroyed 1,000 homes last year in unincorporated Boulder County and suburban Superior and Louisville.

Superior town officials told residents in an email that there were no immediate concerns for the community.

The fire was moving south-southeast toward Eldorado Springs, the Boulder County Sheriff's office said.

Eldorado Canyon State Park has been closed and authorities have ordered people hiking or climbing in the area to evacuate. University of Colorado Boulder Police were evacuating the south campus and police blocked westbound traffic on roads near the blaze.

The fire started around 2 p.m. Saturday, said Boulder Fire-Rescue spokesperson Marya Washburn. An Emergency Operations Center was activated, Boulder police said. Emergency alerts were sent to cellphones within a 1/4 mile radius of the research center.

"Message is to EVACUATE area due to fast moving wildfire #boulder," police said.

There was no immediate information on the cause of the blaze.

The skies are clear and the temperature was about 73 degrees with wind at about 25 mph. Winds were dying down later Saturday, Washburn said.

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The Associated Press