Text $10 to help 12 firefighters who lost their homes in Fourmile fire

Fourmile fire satellite photo
Some of the homes that burned in the Fourmile fire. Photo: Google Earth

A donation fund has been established for the twelve volunteer firefighters who lost their homes in the recent Fourmile fire near Boulder, Colorado. The funds raised will also assist the fire departments that lost their fire stations.

It is very easy to donate $10 to the fund. On your cell phone, text the word “fire” to 27722, and $10 will be added to your phone bill. After you send the text, you will receive a text asking you to confirm your $10 donation to mGive4BoulderFire.

We believe this is a very legitimate fund since it is has been established by the Boulder County Firefighters Association and is endorsed by Boulder County and the Colorado State Fire Chiefs’ Association (CSFCA).

Here is how the fund is described by Boulder County:

The mGive Foundation has set up a mobile donation platform to benefit the BCFFA. This fund will go directly to benefit the firefighters who lost their homes, and the fire departments who lost stations while battling the Fourmile Canyon Fire. Text FIRE to 27722 to donate $10 directly to this cause.

“We’re deeply saddened by the loss of homes and the impact the fire has had on local residents,” says Dan Eamon, President of the Boulder County Firefighters Association. Eamon, who has also been working in the Incident Command Post since the early hours of the fire expressed particular concern for “…our fellow firefighter friends who lost their homes”. “I know this fund will help these firefighters and their families who are have experienced a compounded loss”.

Media inquiries may be directed to: Bre Zigich, mGive, Phone: +1 303.531.5505 x28, Email: bzigich@mgive.com

Update of Fourmile fire near Boulder, Sept. 10

UPDATE @ 10:20 a.m., Friday, Sept. 10

A few minutes ago someone posted an update at the InciWeb site for the Fourmile fire. It is the best update we have seen from the various incident management teams in the last four days. Here is an excerpt:

General Information/Announcements:

Thomas’ Great Basin Type 1 Incident Management Team took command of the fire at 6 p.m. last evening. Efforts are focused on coordinating with local agencies and the community to safely suppress the fire while ensuring the safety of the firefighters and general public, and to protect all structures within and adjacent to the fire. Firefighters spent a windy night extinguishing flare-ups near homes in the Sunshine Canyon area. Despite winds speeds in excess of 30 mph, the fire did not damage any homes or breach constructed fire lines. Gusty winds are expected again this afternoon.


Boulder County Sheriff’s Office announced that they will begin allowing residents access to some homes beginning at 9 am today. More information is available at www. BoulderOEM.com, or by calling 720-564-2935.

Evacuations: Several subdivisions remain evacuated and road closures are in still effect. For a complete list of the areas affected visit www. BoulderOEM.com.

Today’s Activity:

Firefighters will continue to construct control lines especially in the Boulder Heights area and to patrol and reinforce existing control lines throughout the fire area. Firefighters and equipment will be staged in several areas to provide quick response to fire spread or new spots that may result from forecasted gusty winds. Aircraft are available to support firefighting needs on the ground.


Posted at 9:54 a.m, Friday, Sept. 10

Someone sent us an email asking for an updated map of the fire. With the red flag warning and the winds predicted for Thursday night, a lot of people in the Boulder area, including those living in the city, have been concerned about the potential for the fire to spread. The warnings and the re-evacuations have people on edge.

The most current map we can find, after scouring several web sites, is one posted by Boulder County, and it is dated September 9 at 11:45 a.m. The maps of the fire at the official web page for the fire at InciWeb are out of date and/or terrible. And when we checked at 9:54 a.m on Friday, the InciWeb page had not been updated in the last 13 hours. It is a shame that the three Incident Management Teams that have managed this fire have not established, after four days, a one-stop internet location where concerned residents can get the information they need.

The USFS infrared mapping aircraft, N149Z, flew the fire at 2:20 a.m on Friday. The fire perimeter information from that flight has not been posted, as far as we can tell.

Beginning today, we will be working on a time-consuming project, and will not be able to post much additional information about the fire. Hopefully, these sites will have all the information you need:


Boulder County Office of Emergency Management

Boulder County Twitter site

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.

Update and map of the Fourmile fire near Boulder, Sept. 8

UPDATE @ 8:00 p.m., Sept. 8

The Rocky Mountain Area Coordination Center had the following update about the Fourmile fire at 7:20 p.m. today:

Four Mile Canyon Fire Update: (CO-BLX) , 5 miles west of downtown Boulder, CO. Single tree torching with creeping in Douglas-fir, Ponderosa pine and grass was observed today. Transition expected from Type 2 (Richardson) to Type 1 (Thomas) will occur at 1800 Tomorrow. Red flag predicted for tomorrow for high winds and low humidity. Currently at 6,365 acres, 10% contained.


UPDATE @ 6:15 p.m., Sept. 8

The Boulder County Sheriff’s Office has provided a list of 140 structures that have been destroyed by the Fourmile Canyon wildfire and another 24 that have been damaged by the fire.


UPDATE @ 4:00 p.m., Sept. 8

My favorite quote so far about the Fourmile fire is from an article today at the Daily Camera:

The fire burned in on itself, shrinking its overall size to 6,168 acres.

We need to figure out how to harness that technology or phenomenon, whatever it is, but it might put firefighters out of a job.

By the way, some of the comments on that article are interesting.

Boulder County has posted a new map of the fire.


Fourmile fire air tanker
Air tanker making a drop on the Fourmile fire, Sept. 6, 2010. Photo: InciWeb

UPDATE @ 1:05 p.m., Sept. 8

Adam K. plotted the locations of the structures that have been reported by the Boulder Office of Emergency Management as having burned as of 9:42 p.m. on September 7. The information is preliminary and incomplete, and Wildfire Today assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of the data. Here is how the list of addresses with burned structures was described by the Boulder OEM:

9:42 p.m. – Sept. 7, 2010 – The Boulder County Sheriff’s Office is providing this information to residents who have been affected by the fire. The addresses listed below are of houses that the Sheriff’s Office has identified as destroyed by the Fourmile Canyon Fire. These addresses were determined from only 5-10% of the burned area, as that is the only area that could be safely surveyed today. Some parts of the burned area are more densely populated than others. In most cases, Sheriff’s deputies were able to identify addresses by the homes’ mailboxes, some of which are grouped with other mailboxes, so while we intend this to be an accurate list of addresses, we are working under difficult conditions in determining the actual address of each home.

We will continue to post more information as it becomes available following additional investigative work on Wednesday.

Fourmile fire preliminary map of burned structures
An overview map.

More detailed maps:

West side

Northeast side

Center area

Thanks Adam.

There is a report that nine volunteer firefighters lost their homes in the fire.


Continue reading “Update and map of the Fourmile fire near Boulder, Sept. 8”

Update and map of Fourmile fire near Boulder, Sept. 7

UPDATE @ 10:50 p.m., Sept. 7

The Boulder Office of Emergency Management, after surveying 5-10% of the burned area, has identified 53 houses that have been destroyed by the Fourmile fire. Due to the fire activity, they were not able to collect data in other areas.

ABC7 has information about the early stages of the fire, including transcripts from radio conversations and a report that a vehicle colliding with a propane tank may have started the fire.

At 8 p.m. the Rocky Mountain Area Coordination Center reported:

Type 1 Incident Management Team, Thomas in briefing at 1000 on 09/08. 6,128 acres. IR [fixed-wing Infrared] flight tonight to determine size. Counting of structures lost will begin tomorrow. 20 Subdivisions west of Boulder have been evacuated and 3 major county roads are closed. Fire is growing around the entire perimeter. Crowning, running, and spotting fire behavior has been observed.

In fact, one of the US Forest Service infrared aircraft, a Super King Air 200 twin-turboprop, N149Z, has already flown over the Fourmile fire, and it looks like the Cow fire in Rocky Mountain National Park as well. The map below shows the aircraft’s flight path as it arrived into the area from Boise, flew over the two fires, possibly dodged some rain or thunderstorms, and landed at Rocky Mountain Metro Airport at 8:08 p.m. It has the capability to downlink the digital imagery wirelessly via Aircell while airborne. Then an Infrared Interpreter retrieves the files from a server, analyzes the data, produces a map showing the heat sources, draws an accurate fire perimeter, and calculates the acreage of the fire.

So, within a matter of hours we should have an accurate fire perimeter and acreage.

Infrared flight track


UPDATE @ 6:15 p.m., Sept. 7

At a 4 p.m. press briefing today fire officials said that 7,100 acres had burned (later changed to 6,168 acres at the InciWeb site) and the fire had forced the evacuation of 3,000 residents. An inversion in the morning prevented air tankers from taking off, but later in the day eight air tankers had dropped 90,000 gallons of fire retardant by the time of the briefing. Three helicopters are also working on the fire. About 2,000 residences are without electricity in the fire area. With about half of the burned area being surveyed, they have identified 63 structures that have burned.

Here is a map produced today by Boulder County showing the perimeter and the evacuation area for the Fourmile fire. (We added the notes in red at the top.) The original higher resolution version of the map is HERE.

Click the map to enlarge it.

Fourmile fire evacuation and perimeter

Another map of the fire perimeter can be found at the InciWeb site.


UPDATE @ 5:00 p.m., Sept. 7

Here are some updated maps of the Fourmile fire near Boulder, Colorado.

Fourmile fire map perimeter
The perimeter of the Fourmile fire, as of 6:00 a.m. Sept. 7, 2010. Click to enlarge.
Fourmile fire map
Map of the Fourmile fire, showing heat detected by satellites at 1:05 p.m. on Sept. 7, 2010. The yellow line with the cross-hatching is the perimeter as mapped by firefighters today.

HERE is a link to a topographic map showing the fire perimeter as of noon today, but it is difficult to make out much detail.

Continue reading “Update and map of Fourmile fire near Boulder, Sept. 7”

Fast-moving wildfire near Boulder, CO burns a fire truck and thousands of acres

UPDATE @ 9:00 p.m., Sept. 6

CBS4 in Denver is reporting that  four of the firefighters who were working on the fire lost their homes in the blaze, according to Laura McConnell of the fire’s Incident Management Team. After they were notified, they were released from the fire.

CBS4 also reports that the fire has burned 3,500 acres. The Rocky Mountain Area Coordination Center reported at 7:45 p.m. that the fire had burned 3,000 acres and 12 structures.

There is another time-lapse video of the fire HERE.


UPDATE @ 6:21 p.m., Sept. 6

According to Boulder Channel 1 news, the Fourmile fire near Boulder started when a propane truck crashed in Fourmile Canyon.

Sometime after 5 p.m. today the winds decreased enough to allow the first air tankers to be dispatched to the fire. They had been staged at Rocky Mountain Metro Airport, waiting for weather conditions that would allow them to safely attack the fire.

Fourmile fire near Boulder air tanker drop
After 5:00 p.m. on Monday, air tankers were first able to work the fire after the strong winds decreased. Photo: Graham Stewart


UPDATE @ 5:00 p.m., Sept. 6

Here is 17-second time-lapse video showing 6 minutes of fire activity on the Fourmile fire near Boulder, Colorado.

Fourmile fire map
This satellite photo of the Colorado shows smoke from the Fourmile fire being pushed by a strong west wind, at 4:50, 9-6-2010.


UPDATE @ 4:20 p.m., Sept. 6

The maps below of the Fourmile fire near Boulder show heat that was detected by the MODIS satellite earlier today.

Map of the Fourmile fire near Boulder
Map of the Fourmile fire northwest of Boulder, showing heat detected by a satellite in the afternoon of Sept. 6, 2010

Continue reading “Fast-moving wildfire near Boulder, CO burns a fire truck and thousands of acres”