Air support helps protect threatened homes in the area; one death reported, 118 structures destroyed or damaged
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.
#HighParkFire now at 43,433 acres with some containment. 500 firefighters will be working today.
Firefighters tried to reach long-time resident Linda Steadman in the early stages of the conflagration, but were unable to get near enough her cabin to save her, according Sheriff Justin Smith.
Officials also significantly upped the estimate of destroyed and damaged homes and other structures from 18 to more than 100. The fire has started to creep down into the Front Range foothills just west of Fort Collins, but the sheriffs office emphasized that no evacuation notices or alerts have been issued for that area.
The start of the fire has been traced to a lightning strike, presumably during thunderstorms that hit the area last Thursday and possibly igniting a stump or log that smoldered for a couple of days before sparking the biggest Colorado wildfire in recent memory.
More than 400 firefighters on the ground got massive air support in their efforts to contain the blaze, as five large air tankers doused forests and grasslands with flame retardant. Helicopters also assisted with pinpoint bucket drops, and fire activity subsided slightly Monday morning.
As of 4 p.m. fire crews were focusing with the northeast area of the fire, near Bonner Peak and the Glacier View area.