BOULDER, Colo. – Two campers from Alabama have been arrested in connection with a wildfire that has destroyed three homes and three buildings north of Nederland in Boulder County.
Boulder sheriff's deputies said Sunday afternoon that Jimmy Andrew Suggs, 28, and Zackary Ryan Kuykendall, 26, both of whom are from Vinemont, Alabama, face felony arson charges because of the dangers the fire poses, the Denver Post reported . The men were booked into the Boulder County Jail, the newspaper reported.
Authorities say the men left a poorly extinguished campfire, smoldering as hot, dry winds whipped down from mountain peaks, that sparked the fire Saturday, forcing evacuations of nearly 2,000 people southwest of Boulder, the Post reported.
Authorities are warning that shifting high winds and high temperatures on Sunday could put more homes in danger. The fire that started on Saturday spread quickly, and it scorched over 500 acres as it moved to the northeast, with no containment.
Power was knocked out to some of the homes in the surrounding area.
Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle said evacuations won't be lifted because of the weather forecast, with hot weather and high winds making it too dangerous.
Officials said about 200 firefighters were on the ground and 12 aircraft are fighting the fire from above, with more help on the way.
Resident Lee Kennedy was evacuated from her home on Ridge Road, but she got a glimpse of the fire before she left, the Boulder Daily Camera reported.
"We went outside and looked and saw an inferno in the sky," Kennedy said.
In northern Colorado, firefighters say a wildfire near the Wyoming border has burned another 1,000 acres, and they are warning that the fire could spread rapidly on Sunday because high winds are forecast. An evacuation order was issued for Parsons Draw landowners on Saturday. That fire started on June 19 and now covers more than 22 square miles.
Officials say that fire isn't expected to be contained until late October.
National Forest officials said the fire is burning in heavy timber killed by beetles. They are letting the fire burn in some areas because bug-infested trees can easily blow over and kill or maim firefighters.