Cameron Height fire explodes towards Ft Collins triggering more emptyings


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The Cameron Peak fire exploded east toward Fort Collins on Wednesday, prompting new evacuations and sending a massive plume of smoke into the air over northern Colorado

Fire officials say the fire, which has burned more than 135,000 acres, is expanding into the area just west of Horsetooth Reservoir. Crews on Wednesday afternoon were scrambling to hold the fire back near the community of Masonville, warning of “extreme” behavior.

The fire, which is just 56% contained and has been burning since Aug. 13, is growing amid high winds and warmer temperatures. The fire was already the third largest in Colorado history before its explosive growth on Tuesday night into Wednesday.

“High winds throughout the night have created extreme fire conditions for firefighters,” the fire’s incident commanders said in a news release.

“This is a dynamic situation,” incident commanders added.

Multiple evacuations were announced throughout the day on Wednesday, many of which began as voluntary but later switched to mandatory. New mandatory evacuation orders covered the areas of Bobcat Ridge Natural Area, Masonville, Horsetooth Mountain Road, and portions of County Road 52E. 

Lory State Park is under mandatory evacuation orders as well. U.S. 34 has been shut down west of Loveland and Fort Collins because of the fire’s growth.

The Cameron Peak fire as seen from Trilby Road. (Luke Runyon, KUNC)

The wildfire is believed to have been caused by a human. It’s ignition remains under investigation.

The Rocky Mountain Type 1 Incident Management Team took command of the fire early Wednesday morning, indicating officials increasing concern about the fire’s potential for growth.

Dozens of structures have already been consumed by the blaze.

Dramatic images of the fire’s smoke plume over Fort Collins filled social media throughout the day on Wednesday. The column was visible from as far south as Broomfield.

Smoke choked the skies in Fort Collins on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. (Nathan Hahn, Special to The Colorado Sun)

Fire officials will host a virtual community briefing Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. on the fire’s Facebook page.

To see an updated list of voluntary and mandatory evacuations, go to the Cameron Peak Fire Facebook page or the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office website.

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