Evacuation order lifted after wildfire threatens Douglas County subdivision

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DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — South Metro Fire Rescue (SMFR) battled a vegetation fire in unincorporated Douglas County on Monday. As of about 5 p.m., the fire was 100% contained and crews were working on extinguishing hot spots. Evacuation orders have been lifted.

Below is a list of updates about the fire from earlier Monday:

UPDATE 5:50 p.m.: The cause of the fire was a power pole.

UPDATE 5:05 p.m.: The fire is now completely contained and the Douglas County Sheriff said the evacuation order has been lifted.

UPDATE 4:00 p.m.: A map showing where the fire has burned was released by South Metro Fire Rescue.

The map uses imagery from the Colorado Emergency Management Multi-Mission Airplane.

Additionally, most of the air apparatus have been cleared. Ground crews and two helicopters are working to extinguish hot spots.

UPDATE 3:25 p.m.: South Metro Fire Rescue says the fire’s progress toward the subdivision has been stopped, but it continues to spread in other directions.

At this point no structures have been damaged and no injuries were reported.

UPDATE 2:46 p.m.: The fire, which has been named Chatridge 2, has now reached 456 acres. According to the Douglas County Sheriff it continues to threaten homes in the BackCountry Subdivision.

The fire was named this way because it is similar to a fire that burned in the same area in 2016. That fire was started by a malfunctioning electrical pole.

There are more than 45 ground apparatus and 10 air apparatus working to get the fire under control.

UPDATE 2:20 p.m.: Eric Hurst, the public information officer from South Metro Fire Rescue, just talked to FOX31’s Keagan Harsha to provide an update on the fire.

During their conversation we learned that there were power outages reported in the area when the fire was first reported, but it’s unclear if these are related to the cause of the fire, which is still under investigation.

We also learned that there are nearly 1,000 homes that have been evacuated in the BackCountry Subdivision. At this time, no other evacuations are expected.

Hurst said that since the last updated the fire has grown, but there is not currently an estimate for the number of acres involved.

UPDATE 1:50 p.m.: The Red Cross has opened an evacuation center at Thunderridge High School in Highlands Ranch.

Volunteers are on hand to hand out emergency supplies, snacks and water, but evacuees are asked to stay in their vehicles.

SkyFOX will also be back to the scene momentarily.

UPDATE 1:00 p.m.: Smoke from this fire is now covering many of the homes in the BackCountry Subdivision. SkyFOX is having to clear the area to refuel but will be back over the fire shortly.

UPDATE 12:30 p.m.: South Metro Fire says the fire has now spread to 267 acres, but is 60% contained. However, there is still a “moderate risk” for forward spread.

As for evacuations, 964 Code Red notifications were sent, more than 700 of which were contained.

UPDATE 12:15 p.m.: The Douglas County Sheriff has released a map of the area under mandatory evacuation. Most people are still being sent to Thunderridge High School, but those with animals can go to the Douglas County Fairgrounds.

UPDATE 11:42 p.m.: A mandatory evacuation has been issued for several hundred homes in the BackCountry Subdivision and trails to the south in Highlands Ranch.

People being evacuated are asked to go to Thunderridge High School and remain in their cars.

UPDATE 11:07 a.m.: The Douglas County Sheriff has evacuated a training facility near Highway 85 and Ron King Trail as a precaution.

UPDATE: 11:00 a.m.: SkyFOX is on its way to the fire. Crews at the scene say it is covering about 10 acres. Two houses have been “successfully protected” according to South Metro Fire Rescue on Twitter.

At this point there have been no evacuations and no injuries.

UPDATE: 10:38 a.m.: Two homes are currently being protected as a vegetation burns in an unincorporated area of Douglas County.

SMFR said the fire started on Chatridge Court around 9:49 a.m. on Monday.

Around 10:30 a.m. Monday, SMFR sent out an update saying that structure protection is in place at 2 homes.

SMFR said it is aggressively attacking the fire on the ground and by using a helicopter to make water drops.

Very gusty winds, dry vegetation and difficult terrain are making for dangerous firefighting conditions, according to SMFR.

SMFR says a second alarm has been called, doubling the amount of resources used in attacking the fire.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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