Officials Credit ‘Fuel Breaks’ In Buffalo Fire; Evacuations Still In Place

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SILVERTHORNE, Colo. (CBS4)– Hundreds of residences in Silverthorne are under evacuation orders after a fire broke out on Buffalo Mountain Tuesday morning and sent up a huge plume of smoke.

buffalo mountain fire 41 Officials Credit Fuel Breaks In Buffalo Fire; Evacuations Still In Place

(credit: CBS)

The Buffalo Fire is burning southwest of downtown Silverthorne near the Wildernest and Mesa Cortina neighborhoods, and both areas are under evacuation orders. Fire officials say the fire appears to have started in U.S. Forest Service land between the Mesa Cortina and Buffalo Mountain trailheads.

No structures have been lost at this point, but the Copter4 crew that flew near the fire saw the flames burning very close to homes and fire retardant drops being made next to and on roofs in some places.

buffalo mountain fire 22 Officials Credit Fuel Breaks In Buffalo Fire; Evacuations Still In Place

Copter4 image of the fire (credit: CBS)

The following areas are under mandatory evacuation orders (1,384 residences total):

– Mesa Cortina neighborhood
– Wildernest, homes above 20 Grand Road

The following area is on pre-evacuation notice:

– Wildernest, 1,160 homes below 20 Grand Road

“Pack up and be ready to go now,” Summit County officials tweeted to those under pre-evacuation orders. There is no time frame on when those evacuation orders will be lifted.

slurry Officials Credit Fuel Breaks In Buffalo Fire; Evacuations Still In Place

(credit: CBS)

The fire is at 91 acres and is still growing. Officials in Summit County said the fire was sending out embers which were spreading the fire. Fire officials asked Xcel Energy to shut off the power to the upper half of the Mesa Cortina and Wildernest subdivisions out of safety for the firefighters in the area.

Ground crews from approximately a dozen different fire agencies have responded to the fire. A total of 50 firefighters were working on the fire at 2 p.m. and 100 more were heading to the scene.

buffalo mountain fire 3 Officials Credit Fuel Breaks In Buffalo Fire; Evacuations Still In Place

(credit: CBS)

The attack on the fire from the air involves a heavy air tanker, a Type III helicopter and an air attack plane. Officials have also ordered several more firefighting aircraft.

Officials briefed media at a 4 p.m. news conference. They say the biggest reason why they’ve been able to keep the fire from moving into the subdivisions are “fuel breaks” that were put in place over the last several years.

denver.cbslocal.com