UPDATE (Thursday, Oct. 22 3:55 p.m.): Conditions have changed quickly on Thursday afternoon at several of the fires and led to a slew of new evacuations. Click here for live updates Thursday afternoon and evening on all of Colorado’s major wildfires.
LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. — The largest fire in Colorado history, which has been burning for more than two months in Larimer County, is 55% contained, fire officials said Thursday morning.
As of the latest available information, the Cameron Peak Fire is 206,977 acres.
Helicopters were able to slow the fire's progression with water and retardant drops on Wednesday, according to the Rocky Mountain Type 1 Incident Management Team. Meanwhile, crews on the ground continued their work constructing and reinforcing control lines on the fire's southern edge, and setting up protections for structures in The Retreat and Storm Mountain communities.
Air support was grounded over the Cameron Peak Fire in the late afternoon Wednesday because the smoke from the 125,000-acre East Troublesome Fire hovered over the Cameron Peak Fire, causing poor visibility, the incident management team said. Fire officials from both mountains are communicating and working together as needed. The fires' edges are about 11 miles from each other as the crow flies at their closest points.
The northern and western side of the fire remained secure Wednesday.
Crews also made "excellent progress" along the fire's northeast edges and on Buckhorn Road and County Road 27, the incident management team said. Containment lines are nearly complete in this area.
Division T, U and V also were successful in constructing and enforcing fire lines on Wednesday.
Fire activity increased in Branch III, along the central-southern edge of the fire, officials said. Crews working in Division Y continued building a direct line from County Road 27 west toward Cedar Park. Just west of this area, firefighters are monitoring growth from Bulwark Ridge to County Road 43, the incident management team said.
Supervisors are scouting out the best ways to construct a direct line in the tough terrain that would help deflect the fire from Storm Mountain.
Fire officials are continuing to staff the fire 24/7.
A group focused on structure protection at Pingree Park and the CSU campus are monitoring the fire and working to mop up as needed. A new structure protection group is focusing on at-risk values along County Road 43, the incident management team said.
Multiple locations around the edges of the fire are under voluntary or mandatory evacuations. For details, view the evacuations in the map below, or go here for the full list of evacuations and closures. You can also call 970-980-2500.
For updates on evacuations and closures, text LCEVAC to 888777.
Near-critical weather conditions will continue Thursday morning ahead of a cold front, which is expected to reach the area by the afternoon. The front will bring in cooler temperatures, wind and increased humidity.
On the fire's Facebook page on Thursday morning, officials said suppressing the blaze is a group effort between fire agencies, Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests, Rocky Mountain National Park, sheriff's offices, the American Red Cross and more.
"There are so many partners working together on this fire that any list will inevitably leave someone out," the post reads. "But one critical partner we want to make sure we don’t leave out is you, the public citizens of this area. Your support of our firefighting efforts makes a world of difference to us. Your understanding of being out of your homes, your tolerance of the smoke and firefighter traffic, your words of encouragement and support, and your monetary support of local fire departments and charitable organizations makes us all feel like we’re a part of your communities and one big collective family. Thank you all. We will beat this fire — together."
The Colorado Center of Excellence and Advanced Technology has set up a live view of the Cameron Peak Fire from Horsetooth Mountain, which can be viewed here.
The cause of the Cameron Peak Fire remains under investigation. It sparked on Aug. 13. It is the first wildfire in Colorado history to grow beyond 200,000 acres.
The state's 10 largest wildfires in history, ranked by acreage, are:
1. Cameron Peak Fire (2020): 206,977 acres
2. Pine Gulch Fire (2020): 139,007 acres
3. Hayman Fire (2002): 137,760 acres
4. East Troublesome Fire (2020): 125,677 acres
5. Spring Fire (2018): 108,045 acres
6. High Park Fire (2012): 87,284 acres
7. Missionary Ridge Fire (2002): 72,962 acres
8. 416 Fire (2018): 54,000 acres
9. Bridger Fire (2008): 45,800 acres
10. Last Chance Fire (2012): 45,000 acres
Note: The Rocky Mountain Area Coordination Center said the West Fork Complex fire, which burned a total of 109,632 acres in 2013, is not included on this list since it involved three separate fires.
Denver7 Gives has started a new fundraising campaign for victims of Colorado's wildfires. To donate, go here and then look for "Help Colorado Wildfire Victims" in the dropdown. We are working with our community partners up and down the Front Range to ensure every dollar raised stays in Colorado and helps families who've lost so much.