Miners Candle Fire 100% contained

15-acre blaze destroyed two homes, a few outbuildings

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The Miners Candle Fire southeast of Dumont was reported 100% contained on Dec. 7.

The fire started around 5 a.m. on Dec. 5. It completely destroyed two residences, three or four outbuildings, and about 15 acres total.

Officials evacuated 20-25 residences in the Miners Candle, Lamartine Road, Sunny Skies Trail and Trail Creek Road areas on Dec. 5, but those evacuation orders were lifted 11 a.m. Dec. 6.

During a Dec. 6 public meeting, Clear Creek Sheriff Rick Albers and Assitant Fire Chief Jeremy Jones said the incident started as a house fire in the 700 block of Miners Candle Road around 4 a.m. or 5 a.m. on Dec. 5. However, it wasn't reported until around 6:15 a.m., when a Mill Creek resident across the valley called in a possible campfire.

The exact cause of the initial structure fire is still under investigation, Undersheriff Bruce Snelling confirmed on Dec. 7.

Jones said by the time firefighters arrived, the fire had spread to a second residence and it wasn't defendable.

Residents of both homes were evacuated and no injuries were reported.

Dec. 5's dry and windy conditions put much of the Front Range under a Red Flag Warning, and the Dumont area experienced wind speeds over 50 mph.

First responders went door-to-door in the surrounding area to evacuate residents around 8 a.m. on Dec. 5. An evacuation center was set up at the former middle school building along Highway 103, and approximately 10 residents reported there. Ultimately, three households were provided overnight accommodations by the Red Cross.

Albers also said all the evacuees' pets and livestock had been accounted for.

Fourty-five firefighters from at least six agencies responded to the scene on Dec. 5, Albers said, and 35 firefighters continued working the next day.

Snelling said that while initial weather conditions were frightening, the cooler temperatures that arrived later in the day on Dec. 5 and lasted into Dec. 6 ultimately helped. By afternoon on Dec. 5, he said the fire had "laid down" and was burning more undergrowth and things closer to the ground.

"We appreciate everyone's cooperation," Snellilng said on Dec. 7. "A big thanks to the Clear Creek Fire Authority and all its partners for their quick response, for getting this under control and contained."

Albers commended the community and local businesses for donating food to the first responders, saying, "When you're fighting a fire, sandwiches are good anywhere you can get them."

Evacuated residents Doug Glidden and Dave Mosch were grateful to the firefighters and dispatchers for all their work.  Mosch said he called dispatch after seeing smoke around 7 a.m. that Sunday and he was told to prepare for an evacuation. Meanwhile, Glidden recalled how three first responders showed up to his home around 8:30 a.m. to tell him to evacuate.

Glidden described how he has nine animals at home and evacuating all of them on Dec. 5 was stressful. Glidden said friends let them stay overnight in Idaho Springs. While the animals were somewhat restless, Glidden said they were safe, which was the most important thing.

"It was terrifying," Glidden said of being evacuated, adding that this was the third fire he's dealt with in 10 years.

Glidden lost his Idaho Springs-area home in a fire three years ago, and he said Dec. 5's dry and windy conditions were horrifying. The high country desperately needs more snow, because without it, the area is on the verge of a major disaster, Glidden continued.

Meanwhile, Mosch commented how his family owns the nearby Phoenix Mine and just moved into a house along Trail Creek Road two weeks ago.

While other Americans have to deal with hurricanes or tornadoes, Coloradans have to deal with wildfires, Mosch described. Even so, he felt that dealing with wildfire dangers was worth living in such a beautiful place.

"It is what it is," Mosch said of dealing with wildfires.

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