Colo. Blaze Burns Record Number Of Homes
Colo. Blaze Burns Record Number Of Homes, The wildfire has scorched about 85 square miles and full containment is weeks away. Additional crews were joining the fight Saturday against a wildfire in northern Colorado that has scorched about 85 square miles and destroyed at least 181 homes, the most in state history.
The High Park Fire burning 15 miles west of Fort Collins surpasses the Fourmile Canyon wildfire, which destroyed 169 homes west of Boulder in September 2010.
More than 1,630 personnel are working on the Fort Collins-area fire, officials said in a news release Saturday night. The figure represents an increase of more than 100 firefighters from a day earlier.
The lightning-caused blaze, which is believed to have killed a 62-year-old woman whose body was found in her cabin, was 20 percent contained. The fire’s incident commander said full containment could be two to four weeks away.
Fire information officer Brett Haberstick said hot and dry conditions were expected to continue, but crews have made progress in containing a 200-acre spot fire that erupted Thursday afternoon north of the Cache La Poudre River, a critical line of defense against northward growth.
“Two 20-person hotshot crews worked throughout the day to secure lines around the perimeter of this spot fire,” the officials said in a release.
Firefighters have extinguished other incursions north of the river, but the most recent one appeared to be more serious.
National Weather Service meteorologist Kyle Fredin said some rain was expected in the fire zone Saturday evening, but it will not be enough to put the fire out.
“We need a rain that will really last all day,” he said. “But it’s better than dry wind at this point.”
But crews were bracing for difficult conditions Sunday with wind gusts expected to hit 50 mph along ridge tops and in Poudre Canyon and temperatures in the 90s.
The fire was reported June 9 and has since raced through large swaths of private and U.S. Forest Service land. It was 45 percent contained late Saturday.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who oversees the Forest Service, met with fire managers in Fort Collins on Saturday and said “fighting this fire is going to require us to be aggressive, persistent and also patient.
“We’re going to continue to work to make our forests more resilient. We’re going to continue to ensure that adequate resources are provided for fighting fires and we are going to continue to make sure that we encourage appropriate stewardship of our forests,” he said. (AP)