September 2, 2014

Golden Fire Update: March 24, 2011

Firefighters putting away the hose line they had established as a contingency defense for the Mountain Ridge neighborhood.

Today’s short version: 1,500 acres [Ed. Note: last night's media advisory mistakenly indicated 1,700], 77% contained, no injuries, no homes lost, life returning to normal in Golden.

Status of the Fire
The big news of the evening: 77% containment on the fire, a very high level of confidence that we’ve got this thing licked, and the evacuation alert for Mountain Ridge is over. There is still some more containment to achieve, some hot spots to hit, and a lot of mop up, but today we clearly transitioned into a wrapping-up mode. What a relief. You may still see some activity but it’ll be much less than we’ve had the past several days. In fact, a lot of the crews that came in to help are on their way home or on to the next major wildlife (including a growing fire near Castle Rock), and the federal Type 1 Incident Management Team that has been running this operation for a couple of days will start transitioning out and leave town by the end of the week.

Community Fire Information Meeting
You can watch tonight’s Community Fire Information Meeting online on the city’s web site. The presentations lasted about 25 minutes and then we had another 25 minutes or so of Q & A.

Road Closures
We expect Golden Gate Canyon Road to open at midnight tonight and remain open. Clear Creek Canyon will remain closed however, until fire officials and CDOT can either eliminate the danger or rock slides or figure out how best to manage the issue. Stay tuned.

Fire Ban
Fire bans remain in effect in Golden and unincorporated Jefferson County. Please don’t use any open flames outside and please be careful with cigarettes.

Fire Investigation
Now that the threat posed by the fire is largely gone, officials are ramping up the investigation into the cause. They’ve identified the point of origin (Indian Gulch north of U.S. 6 in Clear Creek Canyon) and there is a very strong belief that the fire was human-caused. If you have any information that might help investigators figure out what happened, please call the tip line: 303-271-5612.

Indian Gulch Fire Statistics
Date Started: March 20, 2011, 10:15 am
Acreage: 1,700
Structures Threatened: 287
Air Resources: 1 Type 1 Helicopter, 1 Type 2 Helicopter, 1 Type 3 Helicopter, 2 Single Engine Air Tankers, 1 Fixed Wing Heavy Tanker.
Closures: Golden Gate Canyon Drive (to be lifted later tonight), US Highway 6
Containment: 77%

Wildfire Mitigation
The City of Golden adopted a Wildfire Mitigation Plan in 2007, but a lot of the potential actions described in that plan depend on property owners to proactively clear out a defensible space and take other steps to protect their homes. Over the next few months, we’ll start to look at that plan again, identify any appropriate refinements or updates, and step up education efforts about the things individual homeowners can do. We’ll be happy to work with HOAs or neighborhoods who want to get something going. Our new neighborhood matching grant program may be useful to neighborhoods that want to undertake mitigation or protection efforts.