Burning Close to Those Within the Boulder Community


Riley Cotton

Devastating everything in its path the CalWood fire burns close to houses forcing those near it to evacuate. Many evacuated have been able to return to their houses but what is left is not always what was there in the first place. “Everyone was on edge” Beck Farrell stated after he and his family evacuated from his house in Lyons.

Riley Cotton, Staff Writer

Accelerated by winds and fueled by dry land the CalWood fire burns rapidly close to Boulder County and those in our community causing evacuations from the over 10,000 acres that have been burned. Many were evacuated from the Lyons Peak Estates with some being evacuated near Highway 36 just by the sheer growth of the fire that weekend. This helped them stay safe and prepare them for the worst. An investigation was opened on October 18th to figure out what caused the fire that seemed to come from nowhere. The fire started in the middle of the day on Saturday the 18th of October and burned over 8,000 acres by that Sunday afternoon.  

These evacuations are hard for many with their options limited by Covid-19. Kayla Anderson, a Sophomore at Silver Creek High School, who lives in Lyons says that she was evacuated for four nights. During that time she, “stayed in the car one night, then at her friend’s house in Longmont for the next couple of nights.” Being evacuated is never fun but not knowing where you will stay during that time is even worse.

Beck Farrell a student at Lyons High School who also evacuated stayed, “in an RV storage unit because they had three cars.” 

This goes to show the difficulties that evacuees faced with deciding what was the best option for them to go. Without the option of shelters for many due to COVID-19 worries, alternatives had to be found. Many checked into the evacuation point in Boulder County and decided to find a place to stay elsewhere. Pets were advised to be taken to the humane societies and livestock was diverted to the Boulder County fairgrounds which quickly filled up. Since the fairgrounds had filled so much, some livestock was diverted to nearby counties with their fairgrounds.

Another difficulty was the uncertainty of the evacuations like deciding where to stay. Anderson said, “First, we were on an optional evacuation, and we left for the night to be sure.” They decided to get out when it was safe so that they did not have to worry during the night. She later says, “Two days later, we were on mandatory evacuation, and had to leave again.” 

This fire came as a shock to many. The fact that this is the biggest fire in Boulder County’s history definitely backs that up. Beck Farrell said that seeing the fire was, “surreal.” Many onlookers also had similar feelings from seeing the impact that it was having. 

The Lefthand Canyon fire that also was burning at the same time made the evacuations deeper and the effects of the fire greater. Everyone has done their best to keep safe and out of the way while firefighters did their best to contain the fire. For now, the fire is still not completely contained but is said to be contained on November 9th. 

Chief Mike Wagner, part of the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office Division, notified the community during a press conference that, “This is actually the biggest wildfire in Boulder County history.” He later went on to say in the press conference, “it’s the largest our community has ever seen.” 

This has not been easy for students affected by the evacuation. Anderson stated, “I fell way behind on my schoolwork.” Later going on to say that she is currently missing around 24 assignments that she has been trying to complete. With everything going on she says that school has not been the most important thing on her mind. This was very much different from Beck’s experience in Lyons saying, “teachers were really understanding.”

Lucky for those who have not lost their houses during the fire they have been allowed to return to their houses. This has been a relief for many families that were evacuated. They get to go back and see their houses and know what condition they stand-in.

For more information on what to do after the fires for those involved Boulder County has published steps for those who have had their houses burned on their website.