The Boulder Theater was briefly evacuated during an environmental conference attended by Robert F. Kennedy on Wednesday morning after a bird's nest caught fire in the marquee above the entrance.

According to Boulder police dispatchers, witnesses reported seeing flames coming from the front of the building and the marquee at the Boulder Theater, 2032 14th St., just after 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Police officers arriving on scene reported the marquee was smoking and evacuated the building. Shortly after 11 a.m., officials said the smoke and flames came from a bird's nest that caught fire in the marquee, and the evacuation was lifted.

Boulder Fire Department spokeswoman Kim Kobel said crews worked to locate the fire in the tower at the front of the building by carefully removing panels from the marquee, and then extinguished it with dry chemicals.

Kobel said the nest was next to wiring that heated up, and that -- combined with the high temperatures outside -- led to the fire. She said it appeared the nest was empty.

The Boulder Theater was playing host to the Boulder Earth Conference, at which Kennedy delivered the keynote address.

Cherie Arnold, who was attending the conference, said the theater made a quiet announcement asking everyone inside to leave the building.

"They just said quietly, 'It's a fire drill, go outside,'" Arnold said.

Fellow conference attendee Mark Fischer said it wasn't until they got out of the theater that they saw what was going on.

"Once we got outside, we could see the smoke," Fischer said. "It looked like a smoke bomb."

Contact Camera Staff Writer Mitchell Byars at 303-473-1329 or