We expect an active fire today: Weather is forecast to fuel East Troublesome fire on Friday


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Firefighters are expecting another difficult day battling the East Troublesome fire burning in Grand and Larimer counties, with continued high winds and low humidity forecast for Friday.

“A little bit cooler today weather wise, but a very active fire,” Neil Livingston, the fire’s incident commander, said in a morning video briefing. “We’ve got another active fire day on our hands. We expect an active fire today.”

The fire grew by 45,000 to 50,000 acres on Thursday to become Colorado’s second largest wildfire on record at 170,000 acres. It is just 5% contained.

Smoke rises from mountain ridges as a wildfire burns Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020, near Granby. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

“We are getting in a lot of resources, which is a great thing,” Livingston said Friday. “Particularly structure engines.”

The fire torched a number of homes and potentially businesses in Grand County as it made a 20-mile run Wednesday night into Thursday morning. Damage assessments are still ongoing, so an exact destruction toll remains unknown.

MORE: “Lots of structure loss” after East Troublesome fire’s explosion into Grand Lake, but changing weather slows march toward Estes Park

Several people are unaccounted for, though there have not been any confirmed deaths or injuries from the fire.

A massive area of Grand County remains under mandatory evacuation on Friday, including everything along the U.S. 34 corridor to the northeast of Granby and everything west of Granby along Colorado 125.

In Larimer County, Estes Park remains under a mandatory evacuation order after the East Troublesome fire jumped the Continental Divide and started threatening the town. It is burning in Rocky Mountain National Park, which has been shut down.

Officials now feel confident, however, that the fire won’t reach Estes Park thanks to colder, wetter weather on the east side of the Divide.

Granby, Hot Sulphur Springs and Parshall in Grand County remain on precaution notice. Livingston said he is most concerned about the fire growing toward those towns on Friday.

The cause of the East Troublesome remains under investigation, but authorities preliminarily believe it was started by a person or people.

A map of the East Troublesome fire’s burn area, which stretches from near Kremmling to the outer reaches of Estes Park. (Handout)

Gov. Jared Polis is expected to meet with evacuees on Friday before heading to the Front Range to assess fire resources.

A dry and hot summer driven by a changing climate has been blamed for the conditions that led to Colorado’s months of destructive wildfire. People across the state have been dealing with smoke and flames for months and several large fires continue to burn.

MORE: Wildfires make work to reduce Colorado’s greenhouse gas emissions even more crucial, Gov. Polis says

A reprieve in the form of a significant snowstorm is expected to move into Colorado over the weekend. However firefighters are still bracing for several more weeks battling flames in the state.

This is a developing story that will be updated.

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