Search on for two juveniles who may have started Colorado wildfire

Wildfire in Deer Creek Canyon/Jefferson County. Picture courtesy CBS Denver.

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) - Residents who had to evacuate from their homes on Thursday after a wildfire broke out nearby were waiting for word on Friday morning whether they could return to their homes.

The Deer Creek Canyon Park Fire forced the evacuation of more than 300 homes. It was 100 percent contained Friday afternoon and at 9 a.m. official said in a news conference they are looking for two juveniles who may have had a role in starting the fire.

The fire was estimated to be 20 to 25 acres in size on Friday morning and firefighters were mostly working to put out hotspots. Approximately 100 firefighters battled the flames overnight and some aerial support may be added to the mix on Friday.

The blaze was very active when the firefight began but wind conditions were in firefighters’ favor. There have been no reports of injuries and no structures have burned.

Officials said the fire is human caused. Some residents told authorities they heard explosions in the area of the fire and two juvenile males were seen running from the area.

“We’ve talked with witnesses, the witnesses have heard explosions. They saw smoke and then some witnesses have seen two juveniles running from the area,” Jefferson County spokesman Mike Taplin said.

The majority of the evacuees live near Deer Creek Mesa and White Deer Valley. More than 40 others live further west of there. Many told CBS4 on Thursday they didn’t have much time to prepare for the evacuation.

“It’s very different (to hear) ‘Get out now. Only take animals you can carry,” said Judi Henry.

At 7 a.m. on Friday emergency officials moved an evacuation center from Chatfield High School to Ken Caryl Ranch House at 7676 South Continental Divide. They said no one slept at the center overnight but several evacuees came by.

Weather conditions in Jefferson County should remain favorable for firefighters on Friday, but the Rocky Mountains west of the Continental Divide and virtually the entire Western Slope of Colorado has high fire danger during the day, according to CBS4 meteorologist Ashton Altieri. These areas are under a Red Flag Warning from noon until 8 p.m. due to expected gusty winds, low humidity and dry soil.

Anyone with information that might be helpful to Jefferson County authorities in their investigation is asked to call 303-271-0211.