Sunshine wildland fire: Fire is 65% contained, evacuation orders are downgraded to warnings

· Dec. 19, 2022, 2:56 pm
A jet passing far above smoke from the Sunshine fire west of Boulder in the foothills leaves an orange-colored contrail as it speeds eastward at around 4:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 19, 2022.

Updated Tuesday, 12/20 — 6:19 p.m.

Areas under evacuation orders are now just under evacuation warnings as the Sunshine wildland fire reaches 65 percent containment.

However, the Boulder Office of Emergency Management is asking that people who do not need to return still stay away. A red flag warning from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. on Wednesday could cause increased fire behavior and reactivate evacuation orders.

Updated Tuesday, 12/20 — 2:56 p.m.

One residence was destroyed and another residence was damaged in the Sunshine wildland fire, according to the Boulder Office of Emergency Management.

The structure that was destroyed was the residence where the fire began, according to the Boulder Daily Camera. That home was in the 2900 block of Sunshine Canyon Drive. The damaged structure is on Bristlecone Way.

The latest estimate of the size of the fire is 19 acres.

Updated Tuesday, 12/20 — 12:30 p.m.:

The small fire burning in Boulder did not grow significantly overnight, according to emergency managers. Sixty firefighters helped get containment up to 40 percent.

The evacuation center at the East Boulder Community Center has closed.

Firefighters expect to make more progress Tuesday with favorable weather conditions. The fire likely started from a housefire.

Update Tuesday, 12/20 — 8 a.m.:

There were no significant changes in the fire as of Tuesday morning.

An emergency evacuation order is still in effect for Pine Brooke Hill and near Seven Hills in Boulder County as of Tuesday morning. Boulder officials last issued an update about the fire around 8:30 p.m. on Monday. Firefighters believed the fire was 25 percent contained Monday night, with 200 people working to contain the fire. While wind and fire conditions died down Monday evening, safety officials did not expect to ease all mandatory evacuation orders overnight.

Monday, 12/19 — 6:30 p.m.:

An emergency evacuation order is in effect for Pine Brooke Hill and near Seven Hills in Boulder County.

The Boulder County Sheriff's office issued the evacuation due to a structure fire in Sunshine Canyon that started around 2 p.m.

As of 5:30 p.m., the fire was estimated to be 16 acres.

The mandatory evacuation area includes 930 people and 389 structures, of which 346 are homes, according to the Boulder Office of Emergency Management.

The East Boulder Community Center at 5660 Sioux Dr. will stay open overnight for evacuees. Evacuees with large animals should head to the Boulder County Fairgrounds. Small animal evacuations should go to the Humane Society of Boulder Valley.

Local Park Rangers are evacuating visitors on trails near Mt. Sanitas.

At 4:50 p.m., the evacuation warning for west Boulder between Linden and University avenues was lifted.

A fire burns near Boulder on December 19, 2022. Authorities said the fire started as a structure fire around 2 p.m.
202231219-BOULDER-SUNSHINE-WILDFIREHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Traffic and emergency vehicles travel east on Linden Avenue in Boulder as a smokey haze from the Sunshine fire closes in behind them on Monday, Dec. 19, 2022.

The CU Boulder Police said there were "no immediate threats" to the campus in a Tweet.

The National Center for Atmospheric Research closed the Mesa Lab and other Boulder campuses "out of an abundance of caution."

Meanwhile, a Red Flag Warning is in effect for Boulder, Larimer and Jefferson counties as dry and windy conditions raise the risk of wildfires spreading rapidly.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

You care.

You want to know what is really going on these days, especially in Colorado. We can help you keep up.  The Lookout is a free, daily email newsletter with news and happenings from all over Colorado. Sign up here and we will see you in the morning!