Day 10: Colorado wildfire - High Park Fire near Fort Collins now 58,770 acres, 50 percent containment, 189 homes destroyed, 1 dead

1:02 AM, Jun 19, 2012   |    comments
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Sunday night, eight homes in the Buckhorn area were lost to the fire that has already destroyed at least 189.

The wind was relatively calm Monday. Temperatures, however, were in the mid-90s, and the relative humidity was extremely low at 3 to 5 percent.

More than 1,700 personnel are working on the fire with a 24-hour schedule using day and night shifts.

"[The fire was a] dragon tried to lure us into thinking it was sleeping," one Larimer County official said on Monday. "Yesterday, it showed us it's not."

Late Sunday afternoon, 331 mandatory evacuation orders were issued for the Soldier Canyon and Mill Canyon areas, including Lodgepole Drive and County Road 23 west and south, and Red Cedar Drive and east to County Road 23.

There were 473 pre-evacuation orders issued for Shoreline Road south of Lory State Park. The area extends to the southern border at County Road 38E, the eastern border of Horsetooth Reservoir and west to Redstone Canyon. Residents were put on a two-hour notice.

Early Sunday afternoon officials issued a mandatory evacuation order for the Hewlett Gulch Subdivision.

The evacuation includes: 

  • Hewlett Gulch Road 
  • Swan 
  • Snow Cliff Road 
  • Deer Meadow Way 
  • Star View Drive 
  • Gobbler's Knob Court 
  • Happy Jack Road 
  • Sara Lane 
  • Mount Mahogany 
  • Rainbows End 
  • Weatherbird Way 
  • Red Tail Trail 
  • Gordon Creek Lane 
  • Wild Mountain Lane 

More fire crews were assigned to the Poudre Canyon Area after a RED FLAG WARNING was issued Sunday.

Crews worked to improve the fire line along Poudre Canyon and bring it to the road Sunday.

Eighteen helicopters, including five Type 1, three Type 2, seven Type 3, three Blackhawks and five heavy air tankers are battling the blaze. More than 110 engines are on the scene helping fight.

Larimer County officials say 182 homes burned, making it the "most destructive fire" in Colorado history. The total cost to fight the fire is estimated to be $12.6 million.

In comparison, the September 2010 Four Mile Canyon Fire burned more than 6,300 acres and destroyed a total of 169 homes. The 2002 Hayman Fire destroyed 133 homes and burned 138,000 acres of forest.

According to Larimer County officials, there were 710 residences in the High Park Fire perimeter.

The following list is of confirmed structures destroyed in the High Park Fire:

  • Soldier Canyon - 1
  • Missile Silo Road - 1
  • Cloudy Pass - 1
  • Picnic Rock - 1
  • Pine Acres - 5
  • Stratton Park - 21
  • Poudre Canyon - 17
  • Spring Valley - 3
  • Old Flowers - 1
  • Whale Rock - 40
  • Paradise Park - 12
  • Tip Top - 2
  • Redstone - 1
  • Rist Creek - 7
  • Davis Ranch - 51
  • Laurence Creek/Redstone - 0
  • Buckhorn (CR44H) - Unknown
  • Stove Prairie Road - 10
  • Rist Canyon - 8

Officials continue to assess other damaged or destroyed properties.

On Saturday morning, a firefighter on scene was air-lifted to a local hospital due to a pre-existing condition. The firefighter is stable and the condition was non-life threatening.

The Red Cross opened a second shelter Friday at the Cache La Poudre Middle School, located at 3515 West County 54G in Laporte.

On Thursday night, 200 more evacuations were sent out for the ninth filing of Glacier View.

These evacuations include area east from Eiger Road to Rams Horn Mountain Road and north from the Mount Blanc Guardian Peak area to the north end of Mount Everest Drive.

An evacuation order was issued at 5 p.m. on Thursday for the Glacier View area from Many Thunders Road south into the 10th, 11th and 12th filing.

Other evacuations include:

  • Meadow Mountain Drive 
  • Little Bald Mountain Court 
  • Grey's Peak Court 
  • Diamond Peak Court 
  • Little Twins Court 
  • Red Mountain Court 
  • Pingree Hill Court 
  • Rabbit Ears Court 
  • Bullrock Court 
  • Black Mountain Court

Due to the high-fire danger and the very dry conditions in Colorado, Governor John Hickenlooper banned open burning and private use of fireworks throughout the state. The ban does not apply to campfires in fire pits, fireplaces, grills or controlled burns for agricultural purposes. Commercial, professional and municipal firework displays are allowed as long as they have the proper permits.

According to the Denver Post, two fireworks stands in Longmont are waiting to see if the city will ban sales after the executive order was issued.

View map of fire perimeter here

On June 11, authorities confirmed 62-year-old Linda Steadman died from the blaze. Search crews found Steadman's remains at her house on Old Flowers Road.

Authorities say Steadman received two notification calls. A deputy was on his way to personally warn her, but he was pushed back by flames.

Larimer County opened the High Park Fire Disaster Recovery Center on Friday at Johnson Hall on the Colorado State University campus in Fort Collins.

The DRC will provide a one-stop opportunity for victims of the High Park Fire to receive services and obtain information on county, state, and CSU services. 

Large animals and livestock can be taken to The Ranch also. Small domestic animals can be taken to the Larimer County Humane Society. If you want to help the evacuated animals, you can donate to the Larimer Humane Society online, www.larimerhumane.org.

The wolves evacuated from the Wolf Sanctuary are being monitored by volunteers 24 hours a day. If you would like to help, offers can be made on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/nocowolfsanctuary.

Road closures include:

  • Hwy 14 (Poudre Canyon) is closed from east of Gould to CR 29C 
  • CR 25E (Redstone Canyon) is closed at intersection of CR 38E 
  • CR 27 (Stove Prairie Road) from Big Bear Road to HWY 14 
  • CR 44H (Buckhorn Road) west from CR 27 
  • CR 52E (Rist Canyon Road) Stove Prairie to Bellvue 
  • CR 23 North near North Horsetooth Reservoir (South Centennial/CR 23 is open) 
  • FS 152 (Old Flowers Road) 
  • Roads south of CR 74E in Glacier View area including Many Thunders Road, Eiger Road, Green Mountain Road and Gate 1
  • CR 63E Pingree Park Road and Crown Point Road from HWY 14

The High Park Fire was first spotted at around 6 a.m. on June 9. Crews had to hike through difficult terrain to first reach the area.

Lightning caused the High Park Fire.

Resources: 

High Park Fire interactive timeline: 

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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