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Monday, June 27,2011

About 100 acres engulfed by Maxwell Fire

High overnight humidity helps contain further growth

By Sara Kassabian

The Maxwell Fire in Lefthand Canyon has been 25 percent contained after high humidity helped hinder the fire’s growth, according to Boulder Office of Emergency Management officials.

The fire began about a quarter mile from the shooting range in the canyon, and while no cause has been identified, the fire is estimated to be about 100 acres in size and is moving northwest in the form of spot fires.

About 80 firefighters have been dispatched to the fire, including two hot shot crews. Two additional hot shot crews are expected to arrive later today.

Cmdr. Rick Brough, spokesperson for the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, says the objective is to box in the fire and keep it out of the south side of Lefthand because of the subdivisions in Boulder Heights.

“They’re going to try to keep it north of Lefthand Canyon Drive, south of Spring Gulch, west of Carnage Canyon, and east of Castle Gulch,” Brough said. “So that’s what they’re hoping to do is contain it in those perimeters.”

The terrain in that area is described as steep and rocky, making additional containment a challenge.

While two to three homes remained in the mandatory evacuation area as of 9:30 a.m., no structures or homes have been threatened.

“At this point there aren’t any structures in danger,” Brough said. “Yesterday they got a pretty good handle on what they were trying to do.”

Lefthand Canyon Drive is closed to traffic because of the Maxwell Fire, Brough said.

“From Highway 36 to Olde Stage Road is what we’re calling a soft closure, and what that means is we’re only letting residents in from that section,” Brough said.

The area between Olde Stage Road and up to James Canyon is entirely closed because of safety issues with firefighters and their equipment on the highway.

“And even today — what with the temperature down [and] the humidity still up — this helps out tremendously,” Brough said.

Additional information will be released at 3 p.m. today during a media conference at Olde Stage Road and Lefthand Canyon Drive.
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