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Colorado: High Park Fire grows to almost 10,000 acres

No containment yet at northern Colorado wildfire

Map courtesy Mark Newby. Click on the image to see the map open full size on a web page.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The High Park Fire, west of Fort Collins, continued to grow overnight and has now burned across a footprint of at least 8,000 acres, quickly becoming the largest wildfire of the season so far in Colorado.

According to the Larimer County Sheriff, 18 structures have been damaged or destroyed and 474 new evacuation notices  have been issued, bringing the total number of evacuation contacts to more than 1,200. The new notices cover 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. More information: http://larimersheriff.org/.

The Larimer sheriff’s office is streaming real-time updates on Twitter at @LarimerSheriff. More updates from a variety of sources is streaming on Twitter under the #HighParkFire hashtag.

A red flag warning continues in the area through 10 p.m. this evening, according to the National Weather Service. Although temps will be cooler, dry and windy conditions will persist throughout the day, with wind gusts up to 40 mph from the west and northwest.

The cause of the fire, which apparently started early Saturday morning, is still unknown. About 200 firefighters are battling the blaze, which is still showing very active behavior, including crown fires in stands of green ponderosa pines.

Growth potential for the fire continues to be high, according to the latest update on Inciweb.org.

Dramatic aerial video footage from Denver-based TV stations showed individual trees and stand of trees literally exploding into flame, demonstrating how this spring’s dry conditions have made Colorado forests even more susceptible to wildfires than usual.

In addition to five single-engine air tankers and several helicopters, large air tankers have been requested.

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