Evacuations ordered in Colorado and Utah as crews battle new blazes

3 days 20 hours 50 minutes ago Sunday, October 18 2020 Oct 18, 2020 Sunday, October 18, 2020 1:15:03 PM CDT October 18, 2020 in News
By: Madeline Holcombe and Amir Vera, CNN

(CNN) - Blazes roaring through Colorado and Utah have pushed people from their homes and caused damage that officials have not yet been able to assess.

Two wildfires are believed to have broken out in Utah on Saturday, burning more than 3,000 acres in less than a day, according to posts on Twitter from Utah Fire Info.

The Range Fire, burning just outside the city of Orem, has prompted the evacuation of about 10 homes as it burned 1,500 acres. It is 0% contained, the post said. Meanwhile the Fire Canyon Fire is estimated to be burning through 1,600 acres, but it is not currently threatening any structures.

The causes of both are under investigation, but the Fire Canyon Fire is believed to be human-caused, according to the post.

Reports of the Utah fires come as fire crews continue to battle the CalWood Fire, which sparked around noon Saturday north of Jamestown, Colorado, and quickly spread to more than 7,000 acres, according to Gabi Boerkircher, spokesperson for Boulder Office of Emergency Management.

Nearly 900 homes are in the area of evacuation, a tweet from the Boulder Office of Emergency Management said Saturday night.

And though officials "believe multiple homes were probably lost," it is still too early to tell what impact the blaze has had, Mike Wagner with the Boulder County Sheriff's Office announced during a media briefing Saturday night.

"It is still too dynamic to get in and even begin to assess where those homes may have been damaged or lost," said Wagner.

Fire teams are preparing to "try to do a really firm aerial attack" Sunday morning while the weather was good before winds picked up. They could face challenges in the rocky terrain on the north side of the fire as well as in the area from Lefthand Canyon up to the Peak-to-Peak Highway where it could be more difficult because of amount of homes, ranches and animals that could be impacted said Wagner.

"We're asking people pretty much anywhere in that vicinity to be sure they're making an evacuation plan," Boerkircher said, adding that a local disaster declaration was signed around 1:30 p.m. local time in response to the fire.

No deaths or injuries have been reported and a cause of the CalWood Fire has not yet been determined, Boerkircher said.

In addition to the CalWood blaze, firefighters in Colorado also continue to battle the Cameron Peak Fire, the largest wildfire in state history. The fire is burning near the city of Fort Collins in the northern part of the state, which prompted new mandatory evacuations Friday night. It has burned more than 200,000 acres and is 62% contained, according to the fire incident website InciWeb.

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