Early morning on Wednesday, October 29, 2003 a power line blew over near the old Burlington Mine west of Jamestown, literally sparking a fire that would torch 3,500 acres in less than twenty-four hours. The fire spread quickly, fed by dry climate and winds exceeding thirty miles per hour at times; by 10:00 am the fire had devoured 400 acres. The town of Jamestown was evacuated around noon and a crew of 100 firefighters fought to save the small community. By evening the fire had grown to 3,000 acres and in addition to Jamestown residential homes throughout Lefthand Canyon, Fairview Mountain, Heil Ranch and homes along Lee Hill and Old Stage roads were evacuated.
Smoke from the fire drifted out across Longmont and the plains and could be seen as far East as Denver. Points offering shelter to evacuees were set up at Centennial Middle School and the Boulder County Fairgrounds in Longmont. The fire was classified as a Type one on a scale from 1-3 with one being the most serious. Two helicopters were stationed in Boulder to help fight the fires although because of the high winds they were never able to leave the ground. By Wednesday evening a cold front had reached the foothills and the temperature decreased dramatically and the winds died. Crews were able to partially contain the fire that night although the fire was not 100% contained until the evening of Saturday, Nov 1, 2003. Crews are still monitoring the fire for “flare-ups.”