JEFFERSON COUNTY —A fast-moving, unpredictable wildfire forced more than 100 people to evacuate their homes on Wednesday afternoon.
The fire was originally reported as the Chair Rock fire, according to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, but it was later clarified that the fire was named the Lime Gulch fire.
At 6:45 p.m., the U.S. Forest Service estimated the fire at 500 acres.
At a 6 p.m. news conference, Sheriff Ted Mink said all residents had been accounted for. No structures are currently threatened.
"The winds down there are swirling and the fire behavior is changing as we speak, but right now the U.S. Forest Service seems to have a handle on it." he said.
It is believed that the fire was caused by lightning late Tuesday. It was first reported to the Forest Service at 11:30 p.m. that night. Because of it's remote location, it was being monitored remotely when it took off Wednesday afternoon.
Mink said the evacuation area was kept large as a precaution because of shifting and unpredictable winds.
"What we learned (from last year's fires in the area) is don't take the wind for granted...that's why we did a three mile evacuation."
Mandatory evacuations were first ordered shortly before 2 p.m. for a three-mile radius around Crystal Spires, near the intersection of South Foxton Road and West Platte River Road.
Shortly before 4 p.m., new mandatory evacuations were also ordered for the Buffalo Creek Township.
Sandy Butler, who evacuated from Foxton Road with her two dogs Duke and Dutchess, was at the evacuation center in Evergreen High School. She said authorities told her to leave "immediately."
"I have everything in one place because I've needed to get out four times already, " Butler said of previous fire evacuations.
The crew of five working to redo Butler's kitchen helped her get he belonging out, she said.
Reverse emergency notifications ordering residents to leave were originally sent to 410 phones, the sheriff's office said. At the 6 p.m. news conference, officials said about 700 calls had been made.
It was not known how many homes were called in Buffalo Creek Township.
The evacuation area includes some areas that were burned in the Lower North Fork fire last year.
Also, residents in the Spring Creek subdivision have been put on alert and told they should be ready to evacuate. More than 60 residents in the subdivision answered the reverse emergency phone calls.
The Douglas County Sheriff's Office has also issued pre-evacuation orders for the area near Night Hawk Hill and Pine Creek Road and South Platte River Road.
Resources to help fight a fire in the area were requested Tuesday night, according to the Pueblo Interagency Dispatch Center. The fire was reported to the National Forest Service at 11:30 p.m. that night.
Mink said the fire was remotely monitored because of its relatively remote location.
According to the website, officials were scheduled to check on the fire Wednesday morning.
Air support arrived Wednesday afternoon to help fight the Lime Gulch fire and crews are already making water drops.
An evacuation center has been established for residents at the Evergreen High School, at 29300 Buffalo Park Road.
Two emergency animal shelters have been set up in Golden.
Large animals may be taken to the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, located at 15200 W. Sixth Ave., and small animals may be taken to the Foothills Animal Shelter, located at 580 McIntyre St.
The Colorado Trail runs through the area where the fire is burning. While personal safety is the top priority for the sheriff department, at the moment crews are focused on evacuating homes, said spokesman Mark Techmeyer.
Temperatures near Conifer are expected to get as high as 84 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. Winds as strong as 23 mph are expected to last throughout the afternoon and well into Wednesday night.
Denver Post Staff Writer John Ingold contributed to this report.