Calwood and Lefthand Canyon Fire Update
Wednesday, October 21, 2020, 9:00 a.m.
Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team Black
Troy Hagan, Incident Commander
CalWood Fire Containment Increases on Tuesday; Red Flag Warning Wednesday
Current Situation: On Tuesday, both the CalWood and Lefthand Canyon fires were moderately active. Winds kept aircraft grounded in the morning, but aircraft were able to support suppression efforts in the afternoon when the winds died down. Crews constructed containment lines along the south side of the fire on Tuesday and conducted tactical firing operations on the southwest side of the fire to connect existing control lines. Firefighters also worked in the Highway 7 corridor and along the fire’s north edge constructing direct line and checking the fire’s progress to the north. Containment on the CalWood fire increased to 21% on Tuesday.
Today, dozers, engines, and hand crews will work on the southeastern side of the fire to build line as the fire backs down the hill towards Spruce Gulch. On the southwestern side of the fire, crews will continue tactical firing operations to connect sections of existing line and protect structures in the Balarat area. On the northeast side of the fire, crews will continue working on the canyon’s edge and in the Highway 7 corridor with the intent of keeping the fire south of Highway 7. Crews on the north side of the fire will continue constructing and patrolling fire lines.
Crews were able to get containment lines connected around the full perimeter of the Lefthand Canyon Fire on Tuesday. Those lines will be strengthened today. Firefighters assigned to the Lefthand Canyon Fire will be mopping up or removing heat from near the containment lines and patrolling for any spot fires that may cross established lines due to this afternoon’s winds. An increase in containment will come as those containment lines are secured to the point that firefighters are comfortable that the containment lines will hold.
Weather & Fuel Conditions: A Red Flag Warning is in effect for both fire areas from noon today until 8 a.m. Thursday morning due to gusty west-southwest winds and low humidity. Winds will be lighter in the morning across the fire area but will increase in the afternoon. As the day progresses, winds will shift to coming from the southwest and increase to 10-15 mph with gusts to 20 mph in Lefthand Canyon and 10-18 mph with gusts to 30 mph along the ridge tops. Relative humidity will be lower than yesterday at 18-25%, depending on location. Temperatures are expected to be in the high 60s in lower elevations and low 60s in higher elevations. An inversion layer will be in place over the fires again this morning and smoke from nearby fires may temper fire activity, as was the case on Tuesday.
Closures and Evacuations: Road closures, evacuation orders, and evacuation warnings put in place by Boulder County Sheriff’s Office remain in effect for areas near both the CalWood and Lefthand Canyon fires. For more information on evacuation orders near both fires, please visit https://arcg.is/0Lq5fD. Effective today, the U.S. Forest Service has a temporary closure in place for all activities on Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forest lands in Clear Creek, Jefferson, Gilpin, Boulder, and Larimer counties. For more information on this emergency closure, please visit https://go.usa.gov/x7CZJ.
Air Quality: Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has issued an Air Quality Action Day Alert for the Colorado Front Range until at least 4pm today due to moderate to heavy smoke near the Cameron Peak, CalWood, and Lefthand Canyon fires. For further information on smoke forecasts and public health, please visit the CDPHE Air Quality page https://www.colorado.gov/airquality/colorado_summary.aspx or find more localized information at https://airnow.gov.
Emergency Alerts: Boulder County has an emergency notification system that allows residents of the county and all cities within to be notified of emergency situations. Notifications can be received in a variety of ways, including cell and land line phones, by text and/or by email. To sign up for alerts, please visit www.Boco911Alert.com.
Temporary Flight Restrictions: Temporary Flight Restrictions are in place over the Calwood and Lefthand Canyon fires. Wildfires are a No Drone Zone. If you fly, we can’t. Whenever a drone is spotted near the fires, all aircraft will be grounded until the drone is confirmed as clear of the area. For more information, visit http://knowbeforeyoufly.org.
CalWood Fire Statistics:
Size: 9,915 acres
Total Personnel: 411
Location: 3 miles N of Jamestown, CO
Reported: October 17
Cause: Under Investigation
Lefthand Canyon Fire Statistics:
Size: 460 acres
Total Personnel: 115
Location: 1 mile E of Ward, CO
Reported: October 18
Cause: Under Investigation