New Colo. wildfire prompts evacuations

EVERGREEN, Colo. – A new wildfire in the foothills southwest of Denver forced the evacuation of dozens of homes Wednesday as hot and windy conditions in much of Colorado and elsewhere in the West made it easy for fires to start and spread.

The Lime Gulch Fire in Pike National Forest was small but devouring trees about 30 miles southwest of Denver in southern Jefferson County. Evacuation calls went out to more than 400 telephone numbers in the area, and residents within 3 miles of the fire were ordered to leave, said Jefferson County sheriff’s spokeswoman Jacki Kelley. That order was later extended to the unincorporated township of Buffalo Creek.

The fire zone was steep mountain terrain, heavily forested and several miles south of where last year’s Lower North Fork Fire damaged and destroyed 23 homes and killed three people. That fire was triggered by a prescribed burn that escaped containment lines.

The cause of Wednesday’s blaze was unknown, and it came as up to 600 Arizona firefighters battled a nearly 8-square-mile wildfire in Prescott National Forest that was zero percent contained.