Red flag fire weather expected to increase fire activity Friday afternoon
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.