A brush fire on Green Mountain quickly multiplied in size due to windy conditions, but fire fighters made good progress against it within hours on Monday night.
The fire started west of Lakewood around or soon after sunset, growing quickly from 5 acres to about 100 acres within a 45-minute period, according to West Metro Fire Rescue. The fire was “slowing down” and was 90 percent contained by 9:30 p.m.
“It was surprising last night that there was so much fire activity, considering that humidity was 35 percent – but it was windy,” said Ronda Scholting of WMFR. “So, when the winds died down, that was what helped it. It slowed the fire down.”
No structures had been reported as damaged or destroyed. Twelve homes were evacuated, but residents were allowed to return by 10 p.m. Monday. No cause has yet been determined.
The fire originally was thought to be up to 300 acres, but examination in the daylight showed it to be 96 acres instead. (It’s pretty hard to measure a rapidly shifting fire at night.) Much of the fire was on terrain too steep to access, so the 160 firefighters focused much of their efforts on protecting homes while a number of brush trucks deployed to flatter terrain, Scholting said.
“If the wind does shift, or if we see a big change in direction or something like that, we would have had more structures in the direct path, and then we would’ve taken steps to protect those,” said Chief Steve Aseltine of WMFR.
Denver Fire Department joined the containment effort, sending six trucks to Lakewood. The state fire division also sent two fire crews, among other supporting agencies. In all, 160 firefighters and 52 pieces of fire-fighting equipment responded.
The evacuated homes included residences on South Deframe Way, West Exposition Drive and South Devinney Way. All those streets are east or southeast of William F. Hayden Green Mountain Park. Evacuations also were ordered between the park and West Ellsworth Avenue to the north.
Residents being evacuated were sent to Creighton Middle School at 50 S. Kipling St. in Lakewood, where dozens of cars had assembled by about 8 p.m., according to Denver Post reporter Jon Murray.
Jefferson County was using reverse 911 to alert people of evacuations, according to West Metro Fire. Emergency services established a staging ground off South Rooney Road, on the eastern side of the mountain.