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Wildfire Near Boulder Forces Thousands of Coloradans From Their Homes

Thousands of Coloradans were forced to leave their homes as a wildfire burned its way through Boulder County on Sunday morning, officials said.

According to the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, a man first reported seeing flames burning on the side of a nearby mountain around 1:30 a.m. (3:30 a.m. ET). While firefighters went to battle the fire, law enforcement personnel began telling people to leave the area.

Fires and Massive Floods Could Affect Millions 1:26

The Boulder Office of Emergency Management estimated that the fire at one point had grown to 62 acres, but they had contained approximately 20 percent of it by the afternoon.

To combat the blaze, Boulder’s OEM enlisted the help of eight aircraft — including a heavy air tanker, two Chinooks and two Blackhawk helicopters — which began targeted bucket drops of water and fire retardant around the flame's perimeter at 8:30 a.m.

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper authorized the state’s National Guard to lend a hand with the aerial firefighting on Sunday.

As of late afternoon, there had been no reports of injuries or damaged property.

Image: Smoke rises from a wildfire Sunday, March 19, 2017, in Boulder, Colorado.
Smoke rises from a wildfire Sunday, March 19, 2017, in Boulder, Colorado. Authorities said the small wildfire burning in the mountains forced people from their homes and is filling the sky with smoke. Seth Frankel / AP