CONIFER —Firefighters are making progress in controlling the Lime Gulch fire but evacuation orders remain in effect.
At 9:30 p.m., officials said the fire was 5 percent contained.
Rocky Mountain Area Incident Management Team B commander Dan Dallas said during a news conference Thursday afternoon that 20-30 homes remain at risk of fire damage near South Foxton Road and Platte River Road, Dallas said, but structure-protection crews are nearby.
A Level 3 (mandatory) evacuation order is in an effect for a three mile radius around Cathedral Spires. Level 1 (precautionary) orders are in place fora a one mile radius around Spring Creek Ranch and South Pleasant Park Road .
The Lime Gulch fire began late Tuesday and is believed to have been caused by lightning strikes, it spread on Wednesday and has burned an estimated 600 acres as of 3 p.m. Thursday.
A Type 3 management team is currently handling the situation with the help of air support but at 6 p.m. Thursday coverage of the fire will increase and Dallas and his Type 2 team will take over.
"The word from the field is things are going well," Dallas said.
The fire officials have no estimate of containment. They won't know until they get an aircraft with an infrared camera to fly over the gulch, which may happen as early as late Thursday afternoon said fire information officer Chris Barth.
Updates on social media and through news releases are going to be scaled back now that the situation has stabilized.
The incident team is being assisted by the U.S. Forest Service, Jefferson County Sheriff's Office and fire officials from Jefferson County and Douglas County.
Earlier Thursday, visitors were escorted out of Waterton Canyon after Denver Water closed the area as a safety precaution.
Jefferson County Sheriff's Office announced the closure in a tweet. Officials said the canyon will also be closed Friday.
The fire is also causing health concerns for the Denver area and other parts of the Front Range.
Areas that could see thick smoke from the fire Thursday include: Foxton, Buffalo Creek, Roxborough Park, Highlands Ranch, Castle Pines, Parker and Centennial.
Residents in parts of Jefferson, Douglas and El Paso counties, as far south as Colorado Springs, could experience smoke and haze.
People with respiratory illness, heart disease, the very young and elderly could be especially sensitive to air conditions, health officials said in a media release.
If visibilities become obstructed, and fall below five miles, smoke has created unhealthy levels.
People should remain indoors with the windows closed if possible.
The sheriff's office reminds residents to be familiar with "evacuation levels." Level 1 is "be ready," the sheriff's office said in Tweet. Level 2 is "leave soon." Level 3 — "leave immediately."