Fueled by strong winds, the fast-moving Cherokee Ranch wildfire forced hundreds of residents in Douglas County out of their homes on Wednesday afternoon.
The following subdivisions are under a mandatory evacuation:
This affects residents within the following boundaries:
An emergency shelter is located at the Douglas County High School in Castle Rock.
The Cherokee Ranch fire started around 1 p.m. Wednesday on open ranch land near the intersection of Highway 85 and Daniels Park Road. Throughout the afternoon, strong winds whipped up the flames. As of Wednesday evening, an estimated 1, 000 acres had burned. This is an area of scrub oak, pine trees and dry grassland. It is also an area that is heavily populated with newer, upscale homes, stores and apartment complexes.
Members of Douglas County Fire Department engine crew 39 abandoned their firehouse, saying flames were all around it and they could not save it. Twenty-one busloads of students were also evacuated from Sedalia Elementary School, about eight miles north of Castle Rock. Reporters trying to gather information at a command post had to scramble several times because the fire was moving so quickly. The fire also threatened the Sanctuary Golf Course. Staff turned on the sprinklers on the greens to try and keep the flames at bay.
Douglas County Sheriff's officials used "Reverse 911" to alert residents about the evacuation notice.
For much of the day, Colorado was under a Red Flag warning due to high winds. That included most of the mountains and the Front Range south of the Palmer Divide.
Stay with KKTV 11 News for the latest information on this wildfire.