Hogback fire: Brush fire near Morrison cancels Red Rocks show, spurs pre-evacuation notices on Friday

Courtesy of West Metro Fire Rescue
West Metro Fire Rescue at the scene of a growing wildfire on the hogback near Alameda and C470 where smoke and flames are visible on Friday, March 31.

Updated 2:33 p.m., April 1

A brush fire that began Friday afternoon continues to burn by I-70 near Morrison in Jefferson County. Crews were hampered by the winds throughout Friday afternoon, including air support. The fire grew to 40 acres.

As of Saturday afternoon, West Metro Fire Rescue officials said the fire was at 44 acres with 30 percent containment, meaning there was a physical line dug around the perimeter of the fire. Earlier in the day, authorities announced continued containment efforts by multiple agencies which they expected to finish Sunday.

Pre-evacuation notices were sent to some residents in Morrison, as well as the Solterra Subdivision and the Red Rocks Ranch neighborhood of Lakewood on Friday. Those were lifted later that night.

Power outages, likely caused by the heavy winds, affected more than 20,000 in the area Friday evening, according to Xcel.

Red Rocks Parks & Amipitheatre postponed Friday's Dabin show, citing the surrounding wildfires and high winds. A rescheduled date has not been announced. On Saturday, the concert venue announced the start time for performer Dom Dolla was moved to 7 p.m.

Smoke was visible in the area near the Hogback fire. Heavy winds and dry air in recent days created dangerous fire conditions along the Front Range.

Fires in Aurora and Lake George

A fire that burned in Aurora was contained quickly after prompting the evacuation of fewer than a dozen homes near Cherry Creek State Park.

Meanwhile, emergency crews made progress in containing a large wildfire burning south of Lake George, about an hour west of Pikes Peak.

They said the 403 fire has burned more than 1,200 acres, and about 100 homes in the area are under evacuation orders.

No injuries or structural damage have been reported. Winds up to 50 miles per hour have made it dangerous to fly in air support. 

Weather advisories across the state

The state is currently under three weather warnings, two watches, two advisories and an alert — all of them current for everything from heavy snow to high winds and bad air.

The National Weather Service was warning the far northwest corner of the state about heavy snow and high winds through 6 p.m. Friday. 

At the same time, the service issued a high wind warning for both the northern Front Range and the southern part of the state from Colorado Springs to the New Mexico line. Winds were gusting to 65 mph around Fort Collins, while a gust up to 75 mph was reported west of Boulder. That warning is set to expire at 7 p.m. when the winds should lay down.

Those high winds also prompted a red flag warning to avoid burning anywhere from Boulder, southeast all the way to the state line beyond the Eastern Plains town of Eads. That warning for “critical fire weather conditions” is to expire at 7 p.m. Friday, but then be renewed from noon to 7 p.m. on Saturday.

There are also winter weather and blowing dust advisories and watches for high winds and winter weather in other large portions of the state.

Just about the only portion of the state not under a watch or warning is the far southwest, and those residents have a hazardous weather outlook advising that snow and rain will return early next week.

And finally, there is an air quality alert for blowing dust on the northeast plains, and for fine particulate matter in Park and Teller counties. That advisory will expire at 8 p.m.

The Colorado Department of Transportation closed U.S. 287 on the Eastern Plains from the Oklahoma line to Lamar due to high winds and blowing dust. The agency warns that high-profile vehicles could encounter high winds almost anywhere in the state. Restrictions could be imposed at a moment’s notice.

Denverite reporter Isaac Vargas contributed to this story.