FORT COLLINS, Colo. - The wildfire season that Coloradans have been nervously awaiting has arrived in a wind-whipped frenzy in the foothills near Fort Collins.
The year's first major fire along the populous Front Range was spotted Friday morning and raced across 750 to 1,000 acres by Friday night. More than 50 homes were threatened, and authorities issued hundreds of evacuation orders.
Officials said the fire was human caused.
All evacuations for the Galena fire will be lifted at 8 p.m. Residents in the affected area will be allowed to return home at that time. While roadblocks will be taken down, deputies will remain in the area to control traffic.
So far, no injuries have been reported and no structures have been lost.
The fire was 45 percent contained by Saturday afternoon.
About 50 firefighters were on the fire Saturday afternoon. Another 60 were expected to arrive.
"The fire is mostly burning in grasses and dead logs," Incident Commander Tony Simons said Saturday.
A later update on the fire said, "The wind is quiet for now on the fire but we unfortunately may see it kick back up a bit later in the afternoon and tomorrow appears to hold the possibility of a 20-30 mph day again. We hope to make a good deal of progress today however with four crews, fire trucks/engines and a Type II helicopter to work the west flank and the numerous small smoke columns in the trees in particular. The fire has moved south to a point just north of the end of the road (Minuteman Dr. area). Our line ties into the lake at Dixon Cove and we have nothing burning south of that point so far."
Firefighters saved two homes and a state park visitors' center. They said no homes had been destroyed.
The fire was human caused, but officials said the fire was not from a controlled burn or an escaped burn. The fire cause is believed to be accidental, they said. It started near the entrance to Lory State Park, officials said at a 3:30 p.m. briefing.
Lory State Park and Horsetooth open space are still closed.
Residents in the area will remain on pre-evacuation status and should be prepared to leave if necessary.
Larimer County Emergency Info Website: http://ch7ne.ws/Z5IlTq
If you have photos of the fire, please send them to 7NEWS@TheDenverChannel.com
Please refresh this page for updates on this developing story.
To see the location of both fires, click on this link --http://ch7ne.ws/156Sl2x -- or look at the map below.
View Soldier Canyon Fire in a larger map%page_break%%page_break%