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CNN Today

Firefighters Scrambling to Protect Homes in Boulder, Colorado Area

Aired September 18, 2000 - 2:11 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Firefighters are scrambling to protect homes in the Boulder, Colorado area today. A wildfire now is about eight miles from downtown, hundreds of people have been evacuated.

For the latest, let's check in with Raj Chohan of CNN affiliate KCNC in Boulder -- Raj.

RAJ CHOHAN, KCNC REPORTER: Lou, we're here at the command center for the Walker Ranch fire. This is about 4-5 miles from the fire center itself. We are standing here because, essentially, the fire is too volatile right now to get any closer. This is the staging ground for firefighters, and this is where the media have been camped out.

We have had some limited access to the fire, and we can tell you it has been lying low for most of the morning. More smoldering than flames really, and we can thank the lower temperatures and the higher humidity for that. It has actually given firefighters a window of opportunity to get out there and to begin contain this blaze.

So far, it has consumed more than 1,000 acres since Friday, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of homes.

The good news right now, no houses have been lost, but there were certainly some close calls yesterday, as the fire ran to within a stone's throw of some structures.

More than 400 firefighter are working the scene right now on what looks to be a lot mop up. But officials on the scene hesitate to call any of it contained yet because of the danger of a major flair up still too great right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE HARTMAN, INCIDENT COMMANDER: It is less fiery out here at this point. Don't be fooled by that. This is a normal time of day when you have low smoke, not as much fire activity. As the day warms up, then it will increase.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHOHAN: Gusty winds are the big concern right now with winds as high as 20 miles per hour expected this afternoon. Firefighters certainly expected to be tested by that. But they are going to get some help, some more hot shot crews are on the way to Colorado, one from California we're told, and there are going to be some water- bearing helicopters also on the way.

That's the latest here at Walker Ranch. Again, more than 1,000 acres burned, more than 400 firefighter working the scene.

Lou, back to you.

WATERS: Raj, anybody hurt?

CHOHAN: Right now, no one is hurt. Firefighter are doing well. They did have some flare-ups where the fire actually ran past some lines yesterday. But everybody got out of the way in time.

WATERS: OK, Raj Chohan, with KCNC in Boulder, thanks so much for helping us with the story.

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