Publisher’s Note: The Coloradoan makes this story free for all readers in the interests of public safety. Please support our work to keep Northern Colorado up to date by signing up using the link at the top of this page.
The Cameron Peak Fire exceeded 200,000 acres after strong winds on Friday and Saturday caused significant fire growth and claimed more homes than it swelled.
But the winds eased Saturday night, and Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith said he expected Sunday to be “a day for offensive fire extinguishing”
The fire is 203,253 acres and 62% included, according to Incident Command Site InciWeb.
Here are the latest updates from Sunday:
US Highway 34 will reopen after it closes due to the Cameron Peak Fire
US Highway 34 west of Loveland is now open in both directions between Loveland and Estes Park after it closed due to the Cameron Peak Fire and evacuations along the US 34 corridor.
Firefighters warned that “security closings can still occur as crews continue to contain the fire. Be careful around the area.”
– Sarah Kyle
Cooler weather moves into the fire area, but “significant” fire activity is still possible
A pressure system has moved into the Cameron Peak Fire area, which brings with it the possibility of light rain and snow, said the Cameron Peak Fire Task Force Team in a written update on Sunday morning.
Winds are also expected to be reduced, with 10-15 miles per hour winds and up to 20 miles per hour gusts on the eastern edge of the fire.
“Fire managers will use this change in weather to deploy planes and take aggressive fire fighting measures,” the update said. “Although weather conditions are expected to ease, significant fire activity along the unsecured line will continue to be a concern.”
A point fire, located about a mile east of the main fire, expanded towards Masonville on Saturday and grew to 2,400 acres.
The Larimer County Sheriff’s Office conducts structural assessments to identify loss and damage and notifies homeowners when these assessments are made.
“Information on structural damage will be released as soon as the teams can safely enter the fire area and make their assessments,” the update said.
Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith said in a Facebook post early Sunday morning that homes along the top of Otter Road and in the western portion of Upper Redstone Canyon were burned because of the fire east of 27 Larimer County Road.
Smith also confirmed that “the fire consumed some houses overnight (Friday) and all day on Saturday” at The Retreat in Glen Haven and said he had “heard of house losses in the western part of Storm Mountain”.
In addition to the structural assessments, the firefighters will continue the work to protect and mitigate the structure, as well as building direct and indirect safety lines in different areas of the fire.
1,542 employees work on Fire Sunday.
– Sarah Kyle
Cameron Peak Fire Size: Wildfire now over 200,000 acres
The Cameron Peak Fire is now 203,253 acres and 62% included, according to Incident Command Site InciWeb.
That’s only almost 3,900 acres more than the measurements shared by the task force team on Saturday night.
– Sarah Kyle
Larimer County’s Sheriff Justin Smith: More homes claimed during the Cameron Peak Fire’s most recent advance
More homes were lost in the recent weekend of the Cameron Peak Fire’s advance, Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith said in a Sunday morning Facebook post detailing fire-fighting efforts when the fire went up almost on Friday and Saturday Rose 200,000 acres.
Smith, who said he spent Friday nights with firefighters at the south end of the fire, confirmed at the Glen Haven retreat that “the fire consumed some houses overnight (Friday) and all day on Saturday.”
Smith did not disclose how many homes in the area were lost, but said, “Fortunately (the fire) didn’t race through the subdivision.”
He said the air resources could help fire fighters in the area after the wind subsided on Saturday.
“I have also witnessed the arrival of portatanks, hose lines, and sprinklers to aid structural protection in this neighborhood as needed,” wrote Smith. “When I came down from Estes I also met a convoy of trucks bringing the equipment to build a fire retardant base in Estes Park for the heavy helicopters in Glen Haven.”
Homes were also burned down along the top of Otter Road and in the western portion of Upper Redstone Canyon after winds “significantly” increased a point fire east of 27 Larimer County Road on Friday.
The growth of this point fire sparked the re-implementation of evacuation orders in the Rist Canyon “because the guides of Redstone Canyon lead directly into the upper Rist Canyon,” wrote Smith.
Passing on a conversation with Tom DeMint, chief of the Poudre Fire Authority, Smith said that engines and handcrews were actively taking action against the spot fire on Saturday and the Poudre Fire Authority crews are also patrolling east of the spot fire “to make sure it is can not recognize and get. ” founded further east. “
Smith said he had also “heard of home defeats in the western part of Storm Mountain, but as of now I have no solid estimates to share”.
The evacuation of the neighborhood west of Devil’s Backbone was caused by the fire that led to the Masonville Post Office and across 27 Larimer County Road, Smith wrote.
“The good news is that once the fire got into this area, it arrived in much friendlier terrain for firefighters,” said Smith, adding that crews were able to stop the fire there.
After the Calwood Fire started in northern Boulder County, some Cameron Peak Fire crews working in the northern areas of the fire were redeployed to assist with the CalWood Fire “when we realized how devastating that fire was,” wrote Smith. As of Saturday night, that fire was just over 7,000 acres.
Smith said he coordinated with Boulder County’s Sheriff Joe Pelle to ensure residents of Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park have a safe route to evacuate if necessary.
“Does this all sound a little crazy? It was,” wrote Smith.
“With that said, the winds subsided around 6pm as predicted and things calmed down around sunset. Today is a new day and I expect it will be a day for offensive fire fighting.”
According to measurements shared on Saturday evening, the Cameron Peak Fire is 199,356 acres and contains 62%.
– Sarah Kyle
Sarah Kyle is a content coach at Coloradoan. Contact her at [email protected] Support their work and that of other Colorado journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.
Read or share this story: https://www.coloradoan.com/story/news/2020/10/18/cameron-peak-fire-update-sunday-what-we-know-wildfire/3681278001/