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Burnt grasses and smoke from the Marshall Fire as seen from from McCaslin Boulvard, Superior, CO. Tuesday, December 30, 2021. (Jeremy Sparig, Special to The Colorado Sun)

Xcel Energy is warning its electric and natural gas customers in several mountain counties and in the San Luis Valley that they will experience periodic outages Thursday night into Friday because of the wildfire burning near Boulder.

“The Boulder County wildfires have impacted Xcel Energy’s natural gas infrastructure that supports the system in Summit County and Grand County,” the utility said in a news release. “To decrease the amount of natural gas being used by furnaces in the area and keep the system up and running, the company is putting in place periodic electric outages to customers in Summit, Grand, Lake, Eagle, Saguache, Rio Grande and Alamosa counties for the next six to eight hours.”

Xcel said the outages “will generally last about 60 minutes.”

The company is also asking customers in Summit and Grand counties “to help conserve natural gas so our natural gas system can continue to provide reliable service to the mountain region.”

Xcel didn’t elaborate on how the Boulder County wildfires are affecting its system, but said there was “significant damage”

“Fire officials are not allowing any travel into the area. Xcel Energy crews are working with fire officials to determine when it is safe to access our facilities and ultimately return service to normal levels,” the utility’s news release said.

The Marshal fire burning east of Boulder destroyed some 600 homes Thursday as tens of thousands of people were evacuated out of the fire’s path.

Xcel Energy said it has turned off natural gas service to customers in Superior and Louisville, the two areas hardest hit by the fire, to minimize safety concerns.

The Colorado Sun —

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Jesse Paul is a Denver-based political reporter and editor at The Colorado Sun, covering the state legislature, Congress and local politics. He is the author of The Unaffiliated newsletter and also occasionally fills in on breaking news coverage.

A Colorado College graduate, Jesse worked at The Denver Post from June 2014 until July 2018, when he joined The Sun. He was also an intern at The Gazette in Colorado Springs and The News Journal in Wilmington, Delaware, his hometown.

Jesse has won awards for long form feature writing, public service reporting, sustained coverage and deadline news reporting.

Email: Twitter: @jesseapaul