Firefighters struggling to maintain containment in extreme fire conditions
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Hot, dry winds pushed the High Park Fire in Larimer County, Colorado in new directions Friday night and Saturday, as a spot fire north of Poudre Canyon grew to 10,000 acres and threatened numerous neighborhoods in the area, according to the Saturday evening update from the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office.
The fire is well established north of the Poudre River and spreading to the north and east, where large pockets of unburned fuel pose a threat to homes. Overall, the fire grew more than 10,000 acres between Friday evening and Saturday evening, to 81,190 acres, and is still being reported as 45 percent contained.
Officials warned that the fire still has a lot of potential to grow. Get details on current evacuations here.
On the western side, the fire continues to grow into steep, rugged terrain littered with beetle-killed trees and threatening a regional watershed for several municipalities. Parts of Highway 14 through Poudre Canyon remain closed.
Fire officials said all available resources were shifted to the area north of Poudre Canyon, with specialists activating sprinklers on some homes in the area before the intense flames pushed them back out of the area.
Altogether six hot shot crews, 30 to 40 engines, three to four heavy air tankers and five heavy helicopters will be working on the north side of the Poudre along with an additional five dozers. Some resources were diverted in the afternoon to a new fire in Estes Park.
Heavy equipment was brought in to create a line far to the north of the main fire front, tied in to existing roads and a line established for the Hewlett Fire, which burned in the area earlier this year.