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Colorado firefighters make gains against a Boulder-area wildfire that forced thousands to evacuate

By Hannah Sarisohn and Holly Yan, CNN

Just one day after a wildfire spurred evacuation orders for 19,000 people in Colorado, the blaze is 35% contained as it nears the 24-hour mark, emergency management officials said Sunday afternoon.

Saturday night’s evacuation order will be updated on Sunday evening, according to a spokesperson from Colorado’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM).

There are still no known injuries or reports of lost structures, state officials said during a Sunday news conference.

Mike Smith of the Boulder Incident Management Team said he was “very happy” with the firefighting efforts against the NCAR fire, which started Saturday afternoon.

“We had over 200 firefighters from over 30 agencies,” Smith told reporters Sunday. “That, combined with all of the fuel mitigation treatments that we’ve done in this area, is one of the reasons that we had such great success.”

Smith said containment efforts have fared well due to cooler temperatures and calmer winds than initially predicted, highlighting successful containment on the fire’s east and south ends. The cause of the fire remains under investigation by the sheriff’s office.

“Today was a good day. We had a tough day yesterday,” Smith said.

One day earlier, the NCAR fire wasn’t contained at all. Officials ordered the evacuation of thousands of Boulder-area residents.

“Evacuation areas include 19,000 people and 8,000 homes,” the Boulder Office of Emergency Management tweeted Saturday evening.

The Boulder Incident Management Team has been updating a map of the areas under evacuation orders and which areas are now “all clear.”

Smith said officials will keep monitoring evacuation zones and expand them if necessary.

Officials are not expected to give another news conference Sunday, though updates to the evacuation order may be posted to the OEM’s website on Sunday evening.

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