All Weather News

High Heat, Winds Fuel Wildfires

11 Feb 2017, 4:58 am

9NEWS– Winds in Colorado gusting over 70 mph on Friday helped spread wildfires, tipped over large trucks and broke weather records. One gust of 101 mph was reported at a mountain pass.

Two of those grass fires erupted in Boulder County and prompted hundreds of evacuations.

The Rogers Fire forced 125 evacuations, and broke out in an area of Boulder County known for it’s agricultural and equestrian communities. At least eighty horses were put on trailers and brought to the Boulder County Fairgrounds until the fire was contained. The 24-acre fire did not damage any homes, but did destroy 12 agricultural buildings. Evacuees from the Rogers Fire are now allowed back in their home.

The second fire broke out near Wagon Wheel Road, has grown to three to five acres, and is 60 percent contained. That 5-acre fire prompted 157 evacuations, though no homes or structures have been lost. Firefighters say it started from a tree falling on a telephone pole, causing a spark that torched the surrounding grass. What caused the Rogers Fire remains under investigation.

Firefighters also battled a 150-acre grass fire in southeast Fort Collins, just north of Duck Lake on Friday. Crews fought the fire for hours until it was 100 percent contained shortly before 7:30 p.m. Two units will stay at the scene overnight to make sure there aren’t any major flare-ups. Colorado Highway 392 (Carpenter Road) was shut down from Timberline Road to Larimer County Road 9 while firefighters worked to contain the blaze. Poudre Fire says smoke from the fire was visible as far as Wellington. No structures were threatened, and no injures reported.

The high winds have toppled semi-trucks across the state — and has left 3,960 customers without power in Boulder County. Denver International Airport spend nearly two hours in a ground stop.

Record high temperatures and high winds will cause heightened fire danger again today. Red Flag Warnings and Fire Weather Watches spread across multiple states.

Denver set an all time heat record Friday for the month of February. Temperatures warmed to 80 degrees Friday afternoon in Denver, breaking the old record of 71 degrees set in 1951.

The cause of the unseasonably warm weather is strong Chinook winds in and around the foothills. Peak wind gusts in the past 24 hours have reached up to 104 mph near Berthoud Pass.

Record high temperatures will also continue. Here are a few cities looking to warm up in a big way this afternoon:

Meteorologist Kylee Miller takes a closer look:

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