OSCA land saved by hard work, wet weather

As of afternoon Oct. 31, the Cherokee Ranch fire, a fast-moving brush fire that started Oct. 29 in the middle of residential Douglas County, was fully contained, officials said.

Posted 11/7/03

Fire officials estimate that some 1,200 acres burned. The fire reportedly started as a result of high winds felling trees onto power lines. By …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Username
Password
Log in

Don't have an ID?


Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.

Non-subscribers

Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.

If you made a voluntary contribution in 2021-2022, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access includes access to all websites and online content.


Our print publications are advertiser supported. For those wishing to access our content online, we have implemented a small charge so we may continue to provide our valued readers and community with unique, high quality local content. Thank you for supporting your local newspaper.

OSCA land saved by hard work, wet weather

As of afternoon Oct. 31, the Cherokee Ranch fire, a fast-moving brush fire that started Oct. 29 in the middle of residential Douglas County, was fully contained, officials said.

Posted

Fire officials estimate that some 1,200 acres burned.

The fire reportedly started as a result of high winds felling trees onto power lines.

By By:Derek Batty

As of afternoon Oct. 31, the Cherokee Ranch fire, a fast-moving brush fire that started Oct. 29 in the middle of residential Douglas County, was fully contained, officials said.

Fire officials estimate that some 1,200 acres burned.

The fire reportedly started as a result of high winds felling trees onto power lines.

Lt. Tim Moore, spokesman for the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, said four structures were lost in the flames — a barn, silo and two-story garage on the Cherokee Ranch and a picnic shelter at Daniels Park.

The blaze was reported shortly after 1 p.m., Oct. 29, in open ranch land northeast of U.S. 85.

The fire spread at an alarming pace as a result of high winds, gusting up to 80 mph at times, extremely dry conditions and warm temperatures; it jumped Daniels Park Road in several spots by 3 p.m., threatening houses in the Castle Pines North area.

As a result of the unpredictability of the blaze, a mandatory evacuation rule went into effect just after 3 p.m.

The decision to evacuate was made by the Douglas County Sheriff based on information and recommendations from the fire command. Areas evacuated were Castle Pines North, Castle Pines Village, Daniels Gate, Happy Canyon, Beverly Hills and Oak Hills.

That warm Wednesday

The sky was filled with billows of gray and black smoke as the blaze moved quickly over the dry and rugged terrain toward the southeast.

From the castle on Cherokee Ranch off Daniels Park Road, flames could be seen whipping over the tops of the canyons. At the castle, staff had been asked to leave by the Douglas County Sheriff's deputies.

Crews from West Douglas County Fire Department parked their engine - Engine 132 - and got into position to offer structure support if the winds - blowing out of the northwest - changed direction.

Sheriff's deputies blocked Daniels Park Road where it meets Castle Pines Parkway. At this location, high winds blew the thick smoke and dust all around, making visibility difficult. Members from the media began converging on the scene.

Back up at the castle, volunteer firefighters Jeff Gregory and Joe Thomas sized up the situation.

"This is getting kind of ugly," Thomas said from a rocky lookout - a makeshift trail off the driveway to the castle.

Firefighters Gregory and Thomas said the fire had moved some 200 to 300 yards in the short time they had been on the scene.

"It looks like it's coming around on us," Gregory said.

Crews from a different engine company took position to the southeast of the castle where a smaller structure is situated. Crews worked to remove potential fuels to provide structure protection.

Heading back down Daniels Park Road toward U.S. 85, sheriff's units had set up two road blocks, letting only emergency personnel through.

At the base of Daniels Park Road, cars and trucks lined the road. People gathered in groups and shared stories about what they had heard about the blaze.

Sedalia resident Diane VanDeren said she saw the fire and called 911. Her friend lives up Daniels Park Road and was concerned about her house.

"I could see the huge flames from my ranch [in Sedalia]," VanDeren said.

At around 3:39 p.m., deputies were turning away throngs of vehicles, and media were not allowed to advance up toward the blaze. Deputy Steve Schnoes said he had seen the last of the media - which was asked to retreat - at around 2:45 p.m.

Ryan Groos, 12, and his father Alex stood along the side of Daniels Park Road - Alex concerned about the uncertainty of the blaze in relation to his home, his son with pet snake Romeo coiled around his neck.

Dave Hare, golf course superintendent for the privately owned Sanctuary golf course, said that the perimeter sprinklers at the course were aimed away from the greens and turned on to provide a fire break.

"We're running 1,800 gallons per minute," he said.

At around 3:51 p.m., an ambulance went flying up Daniels Park Road.

Crews from the Littleton, South Metro, and West Douglas fire departments worked the blaze into the evening.

At 8:15 p.m., the incident was turned over to the state's Designated Type III Wildland Fire Incident Management Team, which set up a post at the Highlands Ranch Law Enforcement Training Facility at 9008 N. Highway 85.

As of 9 p.m., some 150 firefighters from 17 jurisdictions, using 70 pieces of equipment, worked on containment.

Some 44 deputies worked the fire.

In nine hours, the blaze torched nearly 1,000 acres.

Comments

Our Papers

Ad blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.