CONIFER, Colo. - Some residents in the path of a Colorado wildfire were not warned to flee because of a problem in an automated call system that relayed a mandatory evacuation order, authorities said Thursday.
About 12 percent of the people who should have gotten calls Monday did not, Jefferson County sheriff’s spokeswoman Jacki Kelley said. It was probably a software glitch, she said.
The county changed to a new automated call system in the past year. Officials were reviewing the system to determine what went wrong, Kelley said.
The fire was apparently sparked by a state-prescribed burn stirred up by strong winds Monday. Since then, 25 homes have been damaged or destroyed, a couple was found dead at one of the homes, and a woman whose house was destroyed remains missing.
The fire has blackened about six square miles in the area southwest of Denver’s suburbs. About 500 firefighters were at the fire Thursday, to expand their containment line in case hot and windy weather returns this weekend as predicted.
Two planes that drop fire retardant were diverted to a fire in South Dakota; four Black Hawk helicopters from the Colorado Air National Guard were dropping water on the fire.
The bodies of 77-year-old Sam Lamar Lucas and 76-year-old Linda M. Lucas were found at their home, which was destroyed by fire. Kelley said the couple received an evacuation call, but it was not clear when. It was not yet known whether the missing woman received an evacuation notice, Kelley said.