Update on Sunshine Canyon wildfire west of Boulder

Published: March 19, 2017

This spring we have seen dry, hot, windy weather that has sparked fires in parts of Colorado. Overnight, a wildfire started in Sunshine Canyon about three miles west of campus in the Boulder foothills. Some mandatory evacuations and pre-evacuations were issued for areas outside of the city. Although the campus is not in the wildfire zone, we are aware that students, faculty and staff may be affected. Campus leadership has been monitoring the situation since early this morning. 

A firefighter works a fireline during the Sunshine Canyon fire on March 19, 2017

A firefighter works a fireline during the Sunshine Canyon fire on March 19, 2017 - photo courtesy of Boulder Office of Emergency Management

The university will update campus-specific information, if needed, on the CU Boulder Alerts page — alerts.colorado.edu — and across our social media channels.

Here are several other ways to stay informed:

We know that some members of our CU Boulder community live in the Boulder foothills and may be affected by this event. Further, smoke and ash from the fire has adversely impacted many on-campus activities today, requiring some events to be moved indoors.

Some individuals on the far western side of the city have received notices that they may need to evacuate. Students, faculty and staff living in areas impacted by the fire are urged to pay attention to advisories concerning changing conditions and possible evacuations, and to follow instructions from county and law-enforcement officials.

We ask that those who manage students or employees to exercise flexibility in granting leave by consulting campus disaster leave guidelines and accommodating flex schedules as appropriate given each department's business needs.  

Relevant tips and information for living in a state with wildfires

Wildfire air quality precautions

During a wildfire, if you can see or smell smoke, it is recommended that you avoid outdoor physical activities. If visibility is decreased in your neighborhood to fewer than 5 miles, smoke has reached levels that are unhealthy. Children, elderly, pregnant women and people with pre-existing respiratory conditions should stay inside with the windows and doors closed.

Learn more at the Boulder Office of Emergency Management website.

What to do in case of an evacuation

If you feel unsafe, leave immediately. Don’t wait for an evacuation notice.

Evacuees must decide for themselves which items to gather based on their unique needs. This list is being provided as a resource to think about things you might wish to bring with you if you are unable to return to your house or unit for an extended period of time. It is recommended that during emergency situations you have a “go-to” bag prepped and ready to go with essential items you may require, which may include:

  • Medications, prescriptions, or other health-related devices or materials
  • Laptop, phone, tablet and any chargers or cables needed for operation of these devices
  • Basic toiletries such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, razor, contact case/solution, etc.
  • Change of clothing for several days
  • Car and house/apartment keys
  • Important contact information for family and friends, if not already on your devices
  • Any personal information you may need (driver’s license/state ID/passport)

If you are evacuated, make sure to check in with your family when you have reached safety.