Update and map of Fourmile fire near Boulder, Sept. 9

UPDATE @ 11:20 a.m., Sept. 9

Boulder County is reporting this morning that their latest count shows that 169 residences and 3 outbuildings have been destroyed, and 25 structures have been damaged by the Fourmile fire near Boulder. So far they have surveyed about 80% of the burned area.

The Fourmile fire’s InciWeb page has not been updated in the last 18 hours. A Type 2 incident management team has been on site for a couple of days, and a Type 1 team has arrived. Maybe they still need more personnel. Information that is available to the public about this fire is scarce, and the little there is, is scattered on various sites, leading to questions about the accuracy and timeliness of the information.


First post today @ 9:00 a.m., Sept. 9

It is still rather difficult to get much detailed information about the Fourmile fire west of Boulder, Colorado. From an abbreviated version of the Incident Status Summary (ICS-209) issued last evening, we know that the revised size is now listed as 6,363 acres and the incident management team is calling it 10% contained. It goes on to say that 136 primary structures have been identified as burned so far, along with another 4 outbuildings. Even though burned structures are still being counted, the Fourmile fire has become the most destructive in Colorado history. The 2002 Hayman fire, started by a U.S. Forest Service Fire Prevention Technician, burned 133 homes.

Liz has created a map showing the locations of burned structures on the Fourmile fire, current as of 8 p.m. on September 8. The original map is HERE. Keep in mind that the data about burned structures is not yet complete and may be inaccurate at this early stage. Click on the map to see a larger version.


The Incident Status Summary report lists only two injuries, a broken finger and an eye laceration. Additional information on the report includes:

Observed Fire Behavior: Single tree torching with creeping in Douglas-fir, Ponderosa pine and grass.

Planned Actions: Starting direct control lines. 2 Fire Management Modules will begin a detailed damage assessment in conjunction with Boulder County Sheriff’s Office.

The perimeter map below is current as of 7:32 p.m. Sept. 8. Click on it to see a larger version.

map of fourmile fire near Boulder

InciWeb, which should be the ultimate source of public information for the fire has not been updated in the last 16 hours. The Boulder Office of Emergency Management has the most current information about closures, evacuations, and burned structures.

Thursday at 6:00 p.m., three and a half days after the fire started, a Type 1 incident management team, the highest-qualified category of teams, will assume command, taking over from a Type 2 team. The Type 1 team was ordered sometime before 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday. The new Incident Commander will be Jim Thomas along with his Great Basin team. According to their web site, Mr. Thomas’ team has not been on an assignment since the Gunbarrel Fire near Cody, Wyoming in 2008, but 2009 was a really slow year for wildland fires, and many firefighters and teams got few if any assignments to large campaign fires.

Great Basin Team
The Great Basin National Incident Management Team, at the 2008 Iron Complex fire, when the Incident Commander was Paul Broyles. The photo was taken at a Buddist Temple.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+

6 thoughts on “Update and map of Fourmile fire near Boulder, Sept. 9”

  1. Wildfire Today has provided some very good, upto date, factual and intresting information on the Fourmile fire over the last several days.

    Nice maps and photos.

    Back in the 1970’s I lived, worked and recreated over much of the Northern Colorado front range so I find this fire of great intrest.

    Keep up the good work.

  2. I is rude to post a picture of a Type 1 Team that isn’t correct! Please take off the picture you have posted!
    IMT Thomas is in charge of the Fourmile Fire, not Broyles!
    Get things right before you post them! You call yourself “Wildfire Today”???? If you don’t have the correct info, don’t put it out there for the public to see and read!

    1. TThomas-

      The photo posted above is clearly identified as being the Great Basin Team from 2008. The photo is currently on the front page of the Great Basin team’s web site:


      We could not find a photo of the team on their web site that was newer than that photo. While we don’t know if Jim Thomas, the current Incident Commander of the Great Basin team is in that photo, it is very likely that a number of current members are. They might even appreciate having a photo of their team posted.

      The name of the TEAM is “Great Basin National Incident Management Team”. The Incident Commander is one of 74 individuals on the TEAM.

      As far as it being “rude” to post the most current photo of the team that is on their web site, the team must not think it’s very rude, or it would not be on the front page of their web site. And right above the photo there, the text reads:

      “Great Basin National Incident Management Team
      Incident Commander: Jim Thomas
      Deputy Incident Commander: Paul Broyles”

      It does not mention the year the photo was taken. We had to dig through their photo archives to discover that information, and then we put it in the photo caption on our site.

      A question, “TThomas”… any relation to Jim Thomas?

      And a suggestion: try the decaf.

  3. Your comments about InciWeb.org are very true and unfortunately it is the only”approved” site for on-going incident communication by the FS and DOI Land Management agencies. The site was never designed or intended to fill the instant communication/social media role currently expected by the public and the agencies refuse to recognize the real world of web based communication expectations … as a former PAO many years ago I still remember a colleague questioning the value of television in communication … the Feds haven’t changed all that much, SIGH.

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