Weblog of Leland Rucker
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Fire in West Boulder


Today was the annual 4/20 Pot Smoke-Out at Farrand Field. This year it got preempted by a real fire in West Boulder. Billie and I were running errands and driving around town when we ran into our old friends Charlie and Janice, who live at Fourth and Pearl streets. We parked and were catching up, when we began noticing the smell of smoke. It was about 2:30.

An iPhone photo of a fire burning on a ridge near Settler's Park in Boulder, Colorado.

An iPhone photo of a fire burning on a ridge near Settler's Park in Boulder, Colorado.

Somebody must be burning leaves, I thought, and looked to the west. Everybody thought that, too, but within just a couple of minutes, we saw puffs of smoke coming over the ridge of the Red Rocks foothill above Settler’s Park. We had just driven east on Canyon, turned onto Pearl at Settler’s Park and noticed nothing ten minutes earlier.

The puffs were becoming more intense, and soon smoke spread out over us heading east. I got out the iPhone and started taking pictures at 2:36. Though it is in the 70s, it has been a gusty, windy day. I was finally driven back home on a bike ride by heavy gusts in south Boulder earlier. You could see the gusts blowing the fire higher up toward the ridge.

I’m looking at Google Earth images of the area, and I’m guessing that the fire began in a huge grove of trees above Settler’s Park and just a little east of the two buildings west of the park. Perhaps along one of the trails that go up to the Red Rocks formation from Settler’s Park.

We moved to the corner of Fourth and Pearl, where we got a better view. The smoke became orange colored as the gusts continued. Finally, we could see flames at the foot of the pine trees at the top of the ridge east of the Red Rocks formations.

There are homes at the bottom of the east side of Red Rocks hill, and there is an old orchard-turned condos east of the Silver Lake Ditch, which winds around the east side of the hill.

It hasn’t been ten minutes, but people are biking, walking and driving down Pearl Street. For every person leaving the area, there are cars, bikes and people heading toward the area. I’m guessing this is due to the ubiquity of cell phones: “Dude, I’m on the roof of the Foundry, and fire is shooting out of the foothills”).

By the time we got home, we could see smoke from Martin Acres.

Here’s the update. No really bad news this time.

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