Fire officials estimate that some 1,200 acres burned. The fire reportedly started as a result of high winds felling trees onto power lines. By …
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Fire officials estimate that some 1,200 acres burned.
The fire reportedly started as a result of high winds felling
trees onto power lines.
By By:Derek Batty
As of afternoon Oct. 31, the Cherokee Ranch fire, a fast-moving
brush fire that started Oct. 29 in the middle of residential
Douglas County, was fully contained, officials said.
Lt. Tim Moore, spokesman for the Douglas County Sheriff's
Office, said four structures were lost in the flames — a barn, silo
and two-story garage on the Cherokee Ranch and a picnic shelter at
The blaze was reported shortly after 1 p.m., Oct. 29, in open
ranch land northeast of U.S. 85.
The fire spread at an alarming pace as a result of high winds,
gusting up to 80 mph at times, extremely dry conditions and warm
temperatures; it jumped Daniels Park Road in several spots by 3
p.m., threatening houses in the Castle Pines North area.
As a result of the unpredictability of the blaze, a mandatory
evacuation rule went into effect just after 3 p.m.
The decision to evacuate was made by the Douglas County Sheriff
based on information and recommendations from the fire command.
Areas evacuated were Castle Pines North, Castle Pines Village,
Daniels Gate, Happy Canyon, Beverly Hills and Oak Hills.
That warm Wednesday
The sky was filled with billows of gray and black smoke as the
blaze moved quickly over the dry and rugged terrain toward the
From the castle on Cherokee Ranch off Daniels Park Road, flames
could be seen whipping over the tops of the canyons. At the castle,
staff had been asked to leave by the Douglas County Sheriff's
Crews from West Douglas County Fire Department parked their
engine - Engine 132 - and got into position to offer structure
support if the winds - blowing out of the northwest - changed
Sheriff's deputies blocked Daniels Park Road where it meets
Castle Pines Parkway. At this location, high winds blew the thick
smoke and dust all around, making visibility difficult. Members
from the media began converging on the scene.
Back up at the castle, volunteer firefighters Jeff Gregory and
Joe Thomas sized up the situation.
"This is getting kind of ugly," Thomas said from a rocky lookout
- a makeshift trail off the driveway to the castle.
Firefighters Gregory and Thomas said the fire had moved some 200
to 300 yards in the short time they had been on the
"It looks like it's coming around on us," Gregory
Crews from a different engine company took position to the
southeast of the castle where a smaller structure is situated.
Crews worked to remove potential fuels to provide structure
Heading back down Daniels Park Road toward U.S. 85, sheriff's
units had set up two road blocks, letting only emergency personnel
At the base of Daniels Park Road, cars and trucks lined the
road. People gathered in groups and shared stories about what they
had heard about the blaze.
Sedalia resident Diane VanDeren said she saw the fire and called
911. Her friend lives up Daniels Park Road and was concerned about
"I could see the huge flames from my ranch [in Sedalia],"
At around 3:39 p.m., deputies were turning away throngs of
vehicles, and media were not allowed to advance up toward the
blaze. Deputy Steve Schnoes said he had seen the last of the media
- which was asked to retreat - at around 2:45 p.m.
Ryan Groos, 12, and his father Alex stood along the side of
Daniels Park Road - Alex concerned about the uncertainty of the
blaze in relation to his home, his son with pet snake Romeo coiled
around his neck.
Dave Hare, golf course superintendent for the privately owned
Sanctuary golf course, said that the perimeter sprinklers at the
course were aimed away from the greens and turned on to provide a
"We're running 1,800 gallons per minute," he said.
At around 3:51 p.m., an ambulance went flying up Daniels Park
Crews from the Littleton, South Metro, and West Douglas fire
departments worked the blaze into the evening.
At 8:15 p.m., the incident was turned over to the state's
Designated Type III Wildland Fire Incident Management Team, which
set up a post at the Highlands Ranch Law Enforcement Training
Facility at 9008 N. Highway 85.
As of 9 p.m., some 150 firefighters from 17 jurisdictions, using
70 pieces of equipment, worked on containment.
Some 44 deputies worked the fire.
In nine hours, the blaze torched nearly 1,000 acres.
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