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The Straight Creek fire.

The Platte River Fire that broke out Thursday afternoon in Jefferson County grew to 31 acres Friday evening with no containment, according to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.

Seventy firefighters supported by aircraft battled the fire east of Foxton in the hills north of Deckers, officials said Friday.

The blaze started on private land and burned onto U.S. Forest Service land, deputies said. It started in the Dome Rock/Ramona Gulch area, around the 17000 block of West Platte River Road, near Foxton and Buffalo Creek.

No structures were lost or threatened as of Friday evening, officials said. 

The cause remains under investigation. A downed power line may have started the fire, according to the county sheriff's office.

Officials contacted 25 homeowners to warn of the fire and evacuated people in about a 2-square-mile area, with evacuees asked to check in at Conifer High School, law enforcement officials said.

North Fork Fire and Elk Creek Fire departments contributed to containment efforts. The U.S. Forest Service dispatched a helicopter, two air tankers and an air attack to help with suppression efforts on the ground, the agency tweeted Thursday.

The fires follow a week of dry weather and above average temperatures with more hot days to come. Temperatures were in the 90s all week in the Denver metro area.

While a slight cooling trend was expected Friday, hot and dry weather is expected to continue throughout the next week around the state. Denver is forecast to hit record highs in the 100s by Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service. 

The Storm Prediction Center issued an extreme fire danger warning for Western Colorado where fuels are driest, the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies and National Weather Service said in a Friday news release.

While eastern Colorado was pulled out of severe drought by spring snow and rain, the western half of the state was largely missed by storms and forests remain tinder dry.

The Colorado State Patrol reported shortly before 8 p.m. Thursday that eastbound Interstate 70 was closed at Silverthorne because of a new wildfire just south of the interstate, west of the Eisenhower Tunnel. Officials have named it the Straight Creek fire. Deputies closed one lane of eastbound I-70 Friday morning, officials tweeted.

On Friday evening, crews reported that the 8-acre fire was 30% contained. About 60 firefighters were working the fire, according to Dillon District Ranger Adam Bianchi.

“This fire had the potential to significantly grow today,” Bianchi said. “The aggressive responsive coordinated among federal, state and local resources kept it small.”

The Forest Service has closed off the area northeast of the fire, including Straight Creek Trail and the Tenderfoot trail system, for firefighter and public safety. The cause of the fire is under investigation, officials said.

As the state braces for another potentially busy wildfire season, residents are advised to use caution when building campfires, make sure they are completely out before leaving camp, be sure to keep trailers from dragging, and avoid parking in dry grass.

“We are early in the fire season, and conditions will be getting warmer and drier,” Bianchi said. “We really need people to continue to be diligent.”

 

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@JessySnouwaert

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