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Officials: Controlled burn became wildfire due to underestimated weather

by The Associated Press |

FORT COLLINS, Colo. – A controlled burn that became a wildfire in Colorado was the result of weather conditions that were underestimated by fire personnel, state officials said.

The Colorado Department of Public Safety Compliance and Professional Standards Office issued the report Sunday about the October fire in northern Larimer County, The Fort Collins Coloradoan reported.

The fire burned less than 1 square mile outside of the planned area but forced the evacuation of hundreds of residents in Glacier View, 35 miles northwest of Fort Collins.

No one was injured and one outbuilding was destroyed.

The burn in complex terrain spread when weather conditions quickly turned drier, warmer and windier than anticipated, the state’s report said.

The prescribed burn led by The Nature Conservancy on the private Ben Delatour Boy Scout Ranch was part of a forest restoration effort, the report said.

Area residents were upset at the time that the prescribed burn was started despite the dry, windy conditions.

“What we found was that this escape was the result of a variety of complex factors – some factors that are probably common at a lot of prescribed fires, but which compounded over a very short matter of time,” said Bobbie Mooney, who oversaw the review.