The fire in
Sunshine Canyon, just outside the university town, started
before dawn on Sunday, with no injuries or damage to structures
reported, said Commander Mike Wagner, a spokesman for the
Boulder County Sheriff's Office. The Boulder Office of Emergency
Management said the blaze was 50 percent contained.
Authorities ordered the evacuation of 426 homes, with about 800
others on notice to be evacuated if winds shift, Wagner told
reporters. Evacuation orders will remain in place overnight.
Authorities have ruled out a lightning strike or other natural
cause for the fire. The area is crossed by hiking trails and is
home to transient camps, Wagner said.
"That causes us to speculate it's human-caused," he said.
A wide swath of northeastern and north-central Colorado was
under a National Weather Service "red flag" warning for
wildfires because of winds gusting to 40 mph (64 kph) and
Much of Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Nebraska are
in drought conditions ranging from moderate to extreme, the
Prairie fires stoked by high winds and tinder-dry vegetation
raged across 1.5 million acres (600,000 hectares) of the
southern Great Plains early this month, killing at least six
people and prompting thousands of people to be evacuated.
(Reporting by Ian Simpson in Washington; Additional reporting by
Keith Coffman in Denver; Editing by Sandra Maler and Peter
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