Boulder County crews responding to grass fire west of Longmont

For the second day in a row, a Boulder County wildfire forced evacuations before firefighters were able to stop its spread.

Smoke was first reported in the 5000 block of Nelson Road west of Longmont at 3 p.m.

April 20, 2022: Horses are gathered ...
Horses are gathered up by an officer on Wednesday as Boulder County emergency crews worked to stop the spread of a grass fire west of Longmont. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

The blaze, which was named the Table Mountain Fire by the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, ultimately grew to 52 acres as it burned through grass.

The Boulder County Sheriff’s Office issued a mandatory evacuation order for the area bordered by 51st to 63rd streets and Nelson to Neva roads at 3:25 pm but lifted the evacuation orders shortly before 5 pm as the fire hit grasses that were heavily grazed or greening up , slowing the fire’s progress.

“Public safety officials have determined there is no life, safety or property threat from the fire,” the sheriff’s office tweeted.

There were no injuries and no structures lost.

About 5:20 pm, Longmont resident Colin Laughery stood in the Lagerman Reservoir parking lot off Pike Road near 67th Street, where he had just spoken with a television news crew about the fire.

A couple of hours earlier, as the 38-year-old left an appointment in Boulder, he received a text from his wife with a video of smoke from the fire. His parents live in the area, so Laughery drove along 63rd Street toward Nelson to get a closer look. He pulled over on 63rd to take videos before heading toward Lagerman to start an afternoon run. By the time he got there, the fire appeared to be under control.

April 20, 2022: Firefighters work the ...
Firefighters work the area around Table Mountain on Wednesday. The fire burned about 52 acres and forced evacuations that were lifted by early Wednesday evening. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff photographer)

“It’s a part of life,” Laughery said of fires that appear to have become more frequent in Colorado.

He commended emergency responders for their quick handling of the blaze, saying it was “the most efficient work” he had seen.

The county sent out evacuation orders to a total of 327 Everbridge contacts. Boulder County also sent out alerts through its new wireless emergency alert system, and the county acknowledged that people outside the evacuation order received the alert.

“Although the actual area we identified for the evacuation area was small, the 911 center has no control over where the wireless emergency alerts are actually received,” the sheriff’s office wrote in a release. “Once the message leaves our system, the cell phone carriers have the authority to increase or decrease the footprint, send or decline the message.”

Officials asked residents to closely read the alerts, which did specify the evacuation area.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, Boulder County Parks and Open Space, Boulder Mountain Fire, Boulder Rural Fire, City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks, Colorado State Patrol, Hygiene Fire, Lefthand Fire and Lyons Fire all responded to the call.

This is the second fire in two days and the fifth in four weeks to prompt evacuations in Boulder County following the NCAR, Carriage Hills, 37E, and Tally Ho Trail fires.

Staff writer Matthew Bennett contributed to this report.

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