Officials in Boulder, Colorado have urged around 19,000 residents to evacuate as wildfires reach residential areas.

Evacuation orders covered 8,000 homes. Springs in southwestern Boulder County.
Evacuation orders covered 8,000 homes. Springs in southwestern Boulder County. (AP)

Authorities have issued an evacuation order for 19,000 people near a fast-moving Colorado wildfire in rolling hills south of the college town of Boulder, not far from the site of a destructive 2021 blaze that leveled more than 1,000 homes.

The wildfire had grown to 123 acres (50 hectares) by late afternoon with no containment, according to the Boulder Office of Emergency Management. Saturday's evacuation orders covered 8,000 homes.

Protected wildland was burning near the Table Mesa neighbourhood and the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder police said on Twitter. Authorities have called it the NCAR fire.

Emergency ops activated

Superior town officials told residents in an email that there were no immediate concerns for the community.

The fire was moving south-southeast toward Eldorado Springs, the Boulder County Sheriff’s office said.

Eldorado Canyon State Park has been closed and authorities have ordered people hiking or climbing in the area to evacuate. University of Colorado Boulder Police were evacuating the south campus and police blocked westbound traffic on roads near the blaze.

The fire started around 2 pm on Saturday, said Boulder Fire-Rescue spokesperson Marya Washburn. An Emergency Operations Center was activated, Boulder police said.

Emergency alerts were sent to cellphones within a 1/4 mile (0.4 kilometers) radius of the research centre.

“Message is to EVACUATE area due to fast moving wildfire #boulder,” police said.

There was no immediate information on the cause of the blaze.

The skies are clear and the temperature was about 73 degrees (23 degrees Celsius) with wind at about 25 mph (40 kph). Winds were dying down later Saturday, Washburn said.

Source: AP