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Colorado: High Park Fire containment expected by July 8

Red flag fire weather expected to increase fire activity Friday afternoon

High Park Fire map

High Park Fire, Larimer County, June 21.

High Park Fire picture

A single tree torching on the High Park Fire in Larimer County, Colorado. Photo courtesy USFS. Click to visit the High Park Fire photo gallery at InciWeb.org.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Firefighters are gradually taming the fierce High Park Fire  by burning out fuel in the face of advancing flames, and they hope to have the 68,000-acre fire fully contained by July 8.

Most significantly, fire crews have nearly finished containment lines on the north side, pinching the fire down to a small corner between Pingree Park Road and the Poudre Canyon Road, with more firing operations along the west end of Poudre Canyon Road near Mount McConnel.

As of Thursday, the fire was reported as 60 percent contained, at 68,440 acres. Overall, crews made progress, but a small new spot fire was reported north of Highway 14, resulting in a few new pre-evacuation alerts between Pingree Park Road and Glen Echo.

On the west flank, firing operations are done from the junction of Highway 14 and Pingree Park Road south to Jack’s Gulch. Crews will continue the work to let the fire burn more moderately down to Old Flowers Road. Firing operations help firefighters to remove fuels between established containment lines and the fire’s edge which lessens the chance of the fire making a rapid push.

Nationally, the wildfire season continues to be below average for this time of year. The National Interagency Fire Center is reporting that about 25,000 wildfires have burned for the year to-date, compared to the average 35,000 fires. The acreage burned is also below average, at about 1.2 million acres compared to the average 1.8 million acres.

The current cost of fighting the High Park Fire to-date is estimated at $21.6 million dollars.  There are 1,859 fire personnel, 18 helicopters (includes 3 Blackhawks), 9 bulldozers and 135 engines assigned to the fire. Some of the resources originally assigned to the fire will start to demobilize June 24.

 

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Colorado: High Park Fire now half contained

Red Flag warming continues Tuesday; eight additional homes confirmed as destroyed by the fire

June 18 High Park Fire map, courtesy InciWeb.org.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Firefighters were able to gain some ground on the High Park Fire in Larimer County, as high winds forecast for the area didn’t materialize Monday. But a Red Flag fire warning continues for the area Tuesday, and a convergence of winds over the fire could lead to more extreme fire behavior, according to the latest InciWeb.org update on the High Park Fire.

The High Park Fire was reported as 50 percent contained at 58,550 acres, making it one of the largest fires to ever burn in Colorado. The fire is presumed to have killed one resident of the area and destroyed more than 180 structures — more than 25 percent of the homes and cabins in the fire area. Continue reading

Colorado: High Park Fire destroys more than 25 percent of the homes located within the fire’s 55,000-acre footprint

Blaze now reported as 45 percent contained

High Park Fire map.

The High Park Fire in Colorado on June 18.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — More than a quarter of the 710 homes in the footprint of the 55,000-acre High Park Fire were burned by the flames, Larimer County Sheriff’s Department executive officer Nick Christensen said Saturday, releasing a list of 181 residences confirmed as destroyed.

“For us, it’s not just a number. We think about about everyone of the individuals affected by the fire,” Christensen said. “It’s possible that those numbers will fluctuate somewhat, but we think it’s pretty close to a final number.”

More information at http://www.larimer.org/highparkfire/. Continue reading

Firefighters gaining ground on Colorado High Park Fire

10 percent containment reported; residents refusing evacuation have hampered firefighting efforts in some areas

The High Park Fire is still spreading to the north and west.

Firefighters work to protect a home in the High Park Fire Area. Click on the image to see the InciWeb High Park Fire photo gallery. PHOTO COURTESY INCIWEB.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Firefighters battling the lightning-caused 44,000-acre High Park Fire gained some ground Tuesday, reporting 10 percent containment by the end of Tuesday.

In an evening update, the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office also said firefighters were able to protect numerous individual structures still at-risk from the fire. Continue reading

Colorado: High Park Fire 5 percent contained

Hot spots north of Poudre Canyon a concern

An updated map of the High Park Fire created by Summit Voice contributor Mark Newby. Click on the map to visit Newby’s website, http://www.blackicegeospatial.com.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — High Park Fire incident commander Bill Hahnenberg said crews have managed managed to establish containment lines on about 5 percent of the fire’s 40-mile perimeter, and hope to reach 10 percent containment by the end of the day.

He cautioned that if the fire becomes especially active, those containment figures could change. Crews could gain ground in some areas, but lose control other places, depending in large part on winds, he explained.

So far, the operational cost of the fire stands at about $1.6 million, with about 30 percent of the fire impacting national forest lands, and 70 percent affecting private lands.

Hahnenberg took charge of the firefighting efforts as leader of a Type 1 Incident Management team assembled to fight the most complex wildfires. As commander, he works directly for the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office and the Arapahoe-Roosevelt National Forest supervisor.

“This is a very high priority fire, and we’re not having any problems getting the resources we need,” Hahnenberg said, explaining that there could be as many as 700 to 800 firefighters on scene by Wednesday. Continue reading

Colorado: High Park Fire slows down

Air support helps protect threatened homes in the area; one death reported, 118 structures destroyed or damaged

High Park Fire map

Summit Voice contributor Mark Newby created this updated map of the High Park Fire in Larimer County, Colorado. Click on the image for more maps and information at http://www.blackicegeospatial.com.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — After two days of explosive growth, the High Park Fire in Larimer County, Colorado, slowed dramatically Monday, as the winds died back and aerial firefighting units, including five heavy air tankers, made a concerted effort to halt the advancing flames.

In an early morning tweet, the Larimer County Sheriff’s office said the fire’s footprint is now at 43,400 acres (about 67 square miles), “with some containment.”

“We should have a little bit of good news at the (Tuesday) morning briefing,” said Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith, explaining that crews were able to establish an anchor point and start building hand lines at the southwest corner of the fire.

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