Elephant Butte Wildfire Near Evergreen Spurs Evacuation Orders For Up To 1,000 Homes

Jefferson County Sheriff's Department
A helicopter flies by the Elephant Butte Fire near Evergreen on Monday, July 13.

Updated 9:22 p.m.

A wildfire burning in the foothills west of Denver has prompted the evacuation of an area where more than 1,000 people are located.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office says the Elephant Butte Fire is at 50 acres and is not contained. Firefighters were pulled off fighting the fire a little before 7 p.m. Monday because of lightning in the area. A brief rain came through the area, though the sheriff's office said on Facebook, "Unfortunately the rain didn’t help as much as we hoped."

Just past 8 p.m., Incident Commander & Wildland Captain Paul Amundson said on Twitter that once crews are cleared to resume, they would likely work until midnight or 1 a.m. on Tuesday, then take a break.

Officials said more than 100 people are on hand to fight the fire, including personnel from Colorado State Patrol, Jeffco Open Space and Evergreen Fire/Rescue.

The evacuation area now goes from Upper Bear Creek Road south to Brook Forest Road and east to Highway 73 — and more evacuations are likely. Officials said that residents should leave immediately and they did not expect to reverse the evacuation order Monday night.

Deputies said the wind is a concern as it's pushing the fire up to the treetops along a ridge west of Evergreen.

At least three large air tankers and several helicopters are in the area to help combat the fire. 

Jeffco trails and two popular open space parks — Elk Meadow and Alderfer/Three Sisters — are closed. Officials are telling people to avoid Upper Bear Creek Road in the Elephant Butte area. 

The sheriff’s office said there is structural protection in place as the fire continues to spread.

Officials have opened up two evacuation centers at Evergreen Middle School and King Murphy elementary school in Clear Creek County. The sheriff's office Animal Control and other large animal agencies are also standing by to help homeowners evacuate any animals to the JeffCo Fairgrounds.

Jefferson County was under a fire ban on Monday because of the hot and dry conditions. The ban prohibited fires of any kind, including campfires, smoking outside of a car or designated areas, the use of fireworks and other activities that pose a fire danger.

This story is developing and will be updated.