BOULDER, CO (BRAIN)—Boulder, Colorado, is typically one of the nicer and most picturesque places in the United States for mountain and road biking—except for right now.
“The smoke is so bad in town,” said John Coleman, sales manager for Boulder Cycle Sport, located only a few miles from the fire, which has already burned more than 7,000 acres. “It’s like smoking a cigarette.”
Local authorities report that four people are missing and more than 50 homes have been destroyed as a result of the raging fire. Local retailers are staying open amidst sluggish sales. Coleman said he doesn’t know if that’s due directly to the fire, or the fact that Boulder’s cycling season is coming to a close.
“A helicoptor’s been flying over our shop, dropping water on the fire,” Coleman added.
University Bicycles on Pearl Street reported busy traffic on Labor Day from customers wanting to come in and rent bikes to gain a closer look at the fire’s wrath, but they were all turned away for obvious safety reasons, according to service manager Jake Nie.
“One of our guys is a firefighter,” Nie said. “He’s been working 12 hour shifts.”
Boulder Mountain Bike Alliance president Jason Vogel said there’s both good and bad news as it pertains to local trails and the fire. Batasso Preserve, thus far, has remained unscathed, which is music to Vogel’s ears considering four miles of singletrack are close to being completed there.
Boulder’s Gold Hill area has been less fortunate, according to Vogel. In the works for that area was a new open space park, which has been torched. “It was such an opportunity,” Vogel said.
Like Batasso Preserve, Switzerland Trail just west of Boulder hasn’t been affected by the fire as of yet, but a sudden shift in wind could change all of that. “The fire’s right on the edge,” Vogel said.
As of early Thursday morning the Boulder fire is at 30 percent containment. Approximately 3,500 residents have been evacuated, and at least 1,000 homes are threatened, according to local news reports.