The High Park Fire jumped the Poudre River at Steven's Gulch Thursday afternoon, prompting new mandatory evacuations.
At around 5:15 p.m., the fire crossed Hwy 14 at Steven's Gulch, pushed by downdrafts from a nearby thunder cell. The embers were pushed into the air and started a spot fire on a steep hillside at Steven's Gulch, which quickly grew to 60 to 100 acres.
"It created several downdrafts, which caused the current fire to become much more active," said Brett Haberstick, a spokesman for the Incident Management Team. "Its like pushing a flume in a fire. You blow air into a fireplace and what happens? You get a lot of sparks."
"Theres a lot of resources being thrown at it," Larimer County Sheriff's Office spokesman Nick Christensen said. "Theyre doing water dumps. They have lots of crews on scene and more heading there. Were taking this very seriously. At this point, it looks like theyre going to get a handle on it, but certainly its concerning any time you have the fire go outside a perimeter youd like to keep."
Haberstick said officials are pulling resources from other areas of the fire and positioning them in the Glacier View area.
"This is our first priority right now," he said. "However, it is a priority that we do not lose the anchor points that we have established and worked so hard for."
Fire officials ordered immediate evacuations for 80 homes in Glacier View Meadows along Many Thunders Road and south into the 12th Filing of Glacier View.
Areas under the new evacuation order include:
Meadow Mtn. Dr.
Little Bald Mtn. Ct.
Grey's Peak Ct.
Diamond Peak Ct.
Little Twins Ct.
Red Mountain Ct.
Pingree Hill Ct.
Rabbit Ears Ct.
Black Mtn. Ct.
The evacuation area encompasses about 80 homes.
Boy Scouts and support personnel were also evacuated from Ben Delatour Ranch on CR 68C, north of the fire.
A new road block will be located at Eiger and Many Thunders Mountain Road.
Due to this notification, the 7:30 p.m. public meeting for Glacier View was cancelled.
High Park Fire 15 Percent Contained
Fire officials said earlier that the High Park Fire is currently estimated at 15 percent contained, and there's progress on the northeastern and southeastern flanks, where firefighters continue to hold the line.
Haberstick said most of the fire activity on Thursday was in the interior of the fire perimeter and on the western flank, where it is mostly national forest land and there are fewer homes.
The western flank and northwester perimeter of the fire was active Thursday and continued to be an area of concern, particularly as it moved into a region that contains 70 percent beetle killed trees. Extreme fire behavior will continue in the West White Pine and East White Pine areas along the west flank of the fire.
Haberstick said the blaze grew by 2,000 acres on Thursday for a current total of a little more than 52,000 acres burned.
"The structure protection has gone well on the fire at this point," Haberstick said earlier. He said no additional homes were lost on Thursday.
More Evacuees Allowed Home
More evacuees from the High Park Fire were allowed to go home Thursday.
The list includes people in the Bonner Peaks and Bonner Springs subdivision off Highway 287 and residents on County Road 27 up to Big Bear.
Fire officials have issued the all-clear for the area of Big Bear Road, Bar D Ranch Road, south on the Buckhorn Road to the junction of the Masonville Road, northwest to include Alfalfa Way, Buckhorn Ridge Way and Running Brook Lane. Residents in those areas may return home and passes will be available at the roadblocks in those areas.
The evacuation area south of County Road 38E from Gindler Ranch Road west to Milner Ranch Road was also lifted. Residents in this area need credentials to go through the roadblock, which can be obtained at The Ranch or at the roadblock in that area.
County Road 29C was opened to evacuees and residents on Missile Silo Road/CR29C were allowed home.
Firefighters are continuing to evaluate Cloudy Pass and Mill Canyon and whether residents in those areas can return home.
Incident Commander Bill Hahnenberg said it could be fall before the fire is completely extinguished.
Some 1,263 fire personnel are working on this fire, which has burned more than 100 structures and killed one person.
The High Park Fire is the third-largest wildfire in Colorado history. The largest was the Hayman Fire which burned 138,000 acres and Missionary Ridge Fire in Durango 2002, which burned 72,962 acres.
Structures Damaged Or Lost
Officials are informing homeowners about fire damage as it becomes available and the priority will be getting this information to residents first. To date, 31 homeowners from the Stratton Park, Pine Acres and parts of Poudre Canyon have been notified that their homes have been destroyed.
An additional 17 homes in the Poudre Canyon from Stove Prairie to the mouth of the canyon have also been destroyed. The assessment is still underway and the sheriff's office said the number will continue to grow.
Evaluations continue of the structures that have been damaged or destroyed in Rist Canyon, Paradise Park, Stove Prairie, Poudre Park, Old Flowers, Stratton Park, Kings Canyon, Cloudy Pass, Soldier Canyon and Mill Canyon. Firefighters will continue to evaluate the area subdivision by subdivision.
There are still many unburned areas within the perimeter of the fire, so evacuated residents should not assume their homes are damaged or destroyed, the sheriff's office said.
The assessment and recovery team continues their efforts to identify specific addresses of damaged or destroyed properties.
Following the daily 3 p.m. citizen briefing, residents who live in areas where property damage has been confirmed can call 970-619-4086 to find out the status of their home. The phone line will be staffed from 8:00 a.m. from 5:00 p.m.
Other Neighborhoods Under Evacuation:
Pingree Park Road, Hourglass and Comanche reservoirs, east on Buckhorn Road up to and including Pennock Pass, NE to junction with Stove Prairie and Hwy 14; West to junction with Highway 15 and Pingree Park Road.
North of County Road 38E, from Horsetooth Reservoir to Redstone Canyon to Lory State park. Bonner Peaks subdivision.
County Road 44H (Buckhorn Road) from County Road 27 to Pennock Pass and residents to the south approximately 3/4-1 mile.
CR 27E to Bellvue.
Areas south and west of Bellvue to include the Lory State Park area, the Redstone Canyon area and Buckhorn Road up to the Stove Prairie School.
Poudre Canyon from MM111 to MM118 on Highway 14. This means Poudre Canyon from Stove Prairie to MM118 is under mandatory evacuations.
The area between CR 27E and Stove Prairie Road and south through the entire Rist Canyon area including Davis Ranch Road, Whale Rock Road.
South on CR 44H 3 miles to just north of Stringtown Gulch Road Paradise Park Road, Moose Horn Lane, Magic Lane and Spencer Mountain Road.
Old Flowers Road from Stove Prairie Road to the 8000-block of Old Flowers Road.
Stove Prairie Road north along County Road 27 to Highway 14, east along Highway 14 to approximately mile marker 111, southeast to Rist Canyon Fire Station 1, then back west to to include Wilderness Ridge Way, Rist Creek Road, Spring Valley Road and County Road 41 and all of the roads that run off of it. Hewlitt Gulch, King's Canyon area and Boyd Gulch Road.
Evacuees can call 970-498-5500 for more information.
Regular daily meetings are being held for evacuees at The Ranch Events Complex at Interstate 25 and Crossroads Boulevard in Loveland.
Larimer County will open the High Park Fire Disaster Recovery Center at 7 a.m. Friday, at Johnson Hall on the Colorado State University Campus. The center will be open Mon.-Fri. from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sat.-Sun. from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The center will likely remain open for 3 to 4 weeks.
Looting Reports Unsubstantiated
There have been unsubstantiated reports of looting in the area of evacuated homes, according to the sheriff's office.
Residents should be reassured there is a very strong law enforcement and National Guard presence to deter any such activity. So far, there are no confirmed reports of looting in the evacuation area.
The fire has now burned an estimated 52,000 acres, or about 81 square miles. The current cost of the fire to date is now estimated at $7.2 million.
There are 1,387 people staffed at the fire, including 100 fire engines and 34 fire crews, Hahnenberg said Thursday morning.
Air support includes three heavy tankers, five single-engine tankers, 14 helicopters and support craft, Hahnenberg said.
The Colorado National Guard has provided two Blackhawk helicopters for use for transport or bucket drops, depending on the need.
Officials believe the fire was started by a lightning strike that had been smoldering since last Wednesday.
Fire Has Taken 1 Life
The Larimer County Sheriff's Office said 62-year-old Linda Steadman died Saturday when the wildfire engulfed her century-old cabin at 9123 Old Flowers Road.
Steadman was a mother, grandmother, sister and wife. Her family said she died in the cabin she loved.
- Highway 14 from Ted's Place to Stove Prairie Road
- Highway 14 east of CR 69
- CR 23 & Lodge Pole/Lory State Park
- CR 25E & CR54E
- CR 27 (Stove Prairie Road) south from Highway 14
- CR 27 (Stove Prairie Road) one mile south of CR 44H (Buckhorn Road)
- CR 27 & CR38E
- CR 27 north of CR44H
- CR 38E and CR25E
- CR 44H (Buckhorn Road) west of CR 27
- CR 52E (Rist Canyon Road) west of CR 27E
- CR 52E (Rist Canyon Road) CR 25E Bellvue
- CR 69 & Highway 14
Highway 287 is open.
View Larger High Park Fire Map
| Google Earth Infrared Map: http://tinyurl.com/8y95l2x
Map of Fire from Larimer County: http://larimer.org/highparkfire/inventory_area_map.pdf
Another Larimer County Map: http://larimer.org/highparkfire/HighPark_0613_2200.pdf
InciWeb Link: http://inciweb.org/incident/2904/
Air Quality Link: http://www.colorado.gov/airquality/advisory.aspx
You can also call the Larimer County Emergency Information line at 970-498-5500 or go to http://www.larimer.org for more information.
Larimer County residents can sign up to receive emergency notifications on cell phones or email at www.leta911.org .
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