BOULDER, Colo. (KDVR) – While investigators are still trying to determine how the NCAR Fire ignited on Saturday, fire crews managed to keep the blaze from damaging structures and injuring hikers or residents in its path.
As of 5 p.m. Sunday, the City of Boulder announced all evacuations had been lifted and people could start returning to their homes. However, authorities caution, it is still an active fire area, with containment standing at 35%.
Here are five takeaways from the NCAR Fire, the second major wildfire to hit Boulder County in three months:
- The NCAR Fire has burned close to 200 acres as of Sunday. The fire started around 2 p.m. on Saturday and swelled to over 100 acres within a matter of hours.
- The fire forced the evacuation of 19,000 people, 8,000 homes and 7,000 structures. No structures have been damaged, and no injuries have been reported.
- The City of Boulder used new emergency notification systems. After it took 42 minutes for the first alert to be sent at the start of the Marshall Fire last December, the city wanted to improve disaster management and communication. For the NCAR Fire, it implemented the Everbridge Alert System and the Wireless Emergency Alerts system.
- Hikers were caught in the middle of smoke and flames in Eldorado Canyon. The canyon is a popular spot on the weekends, especially during warm weather.
- Authorities learned how to quickly fight the fire through lessons from the Marshall Fire. “One of the things that we learned from the Marshall Fire was how to rapidly escalate and integrate multiple agencies and get them to work together, and I think we had a much more seamless process on this one,” Mike Smith, incident commander for the Marshall Fire and the NCAR Fire said in an interview with FOX31.
Officials are expected to give further updates about the NCAR Fire as they continue to work to get it 100% contained.