Winds fuel Cameron Optimal terminates growth toward Ft Collins extra emptyings ordered


Colorado News
The Cameron Peak fire burns near Fort Collins. (Handout)

More evacuations were ordered Saturday because of the Cameron Peak fire, which is growing toward Fort Collins amid high winds.

Authorities say a spot fire about a mile east of the main blaze is threatening the community of Masonville. People were being ordered out of the area midday Saturday.

The fire, the largest ever recorded in Colorado, has grown to more than 187,000 acres. It ignited on Aug. 13 near Chambers Lake and is believed to be human caused.

Fire crews are dealing with forecasted winds of up to 50 miles per hour. “Continued active fire behavior is expected,” the incident command said in a news release Saturday morning.

“The plan today is to try to hold the fire to the east,” Paul Delmerico, operations chief for the Cameron Peak fire said early Saturday. “We’re facing the same critical fire conditions today as we did yesterday.”

People along U.S. 34, the highway leading to Rocky Mountain National Park, were evacuated on Friday but Delmerico said the town of Estes Park may be spared.

“The way the fire’s moving and the lay of the land, the terrain, the features, the ridge lines, we that Estes Park is not out of the woods but we feel that as the fire progresses and moves to the southeast, the way it’s moving … we do feel that the community of Estes Park is not imminently threatened or in the direct line of fire.”

A wind shift could change that, he said, but that was unexpected.

Firefighters focused on protecting homes in and around Drake and Glen Haven, an area with hundreds of cabins perched on heavily forested slopes and ridges. The wind, however, kept not only slurry-dumping airplanes from flying but aircraft that gave firefighters a view of the deteriorating situation from on high.

The Glen Haven volunteer fire department posted a notice early Saturday saying the “only place impacted by fire as of this morning is the far end of the Retreat near the Miller Fork/Copper Hill intersection. The fire is on Bulwark Ridge but has not made it to Bulwark Ridge Road.”

The Cameron Peak fire burns near Fort Collins. (Handout)

More than 1,300 firefighters are battling the blaze, which has burned dozens of structures. No injuries or deaths have been reported.

The fire is reportedly 57% contained.

Evacuations have also been ordered because of a fire in Grand County. The East Troublesome fire has torched more than 11,300 acres and firefighters say it is at 0% containment.

The Associated press contributed to this report.

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