BOULDER, Colo. — Four residents of an area burned by a wildfire near Boulder remained missing Wednesday, as officials said the blaze may not be contained for 10 days.
Some residents have refused to leave the area, risking their lives to try to save their homes. Authorities have been following up with family members and checking homes to find the missing.
The fire is burning on 6,388 acres, just under 10 square miles, and has consumed 136 dwellings, officials said. Some rain began to fall on the area Wednesday, providing a boost to firefighting. Crews attacked the blaze from the air and on the ground, but officials say they still don't have control. Firefighters encountered a tangle of rattlesnakes, downed power lines and potentially dangerous propane tanks Wednesday as they looked for the missing.
About 3,500 people have been evacuated from about 1,000 homes since the fire broke out in a parched area north of Boulder on Monday.
The large plume of smoke the fire had been producing since Monday has dissipated, indicating the burning was less extreme Wednesday thanks to relatively higher humidity and cooler temperatures, said Steve Segin of the Rocky Mountain Area Coordinating Center, which manages firefighting equipment and crews. He said that allows firefighters to be more proactive and focus on building lines to contain the fire.
"Crews still have a lot of work to do," he said.
Fire conditions were expected to worsen tonight into Friday and the risk of new fires quickly spreading was high along the populated Front Range region, according to the National Weather Service.