The High Park Fire took the upper hand Friday afternoon, burning an additional 2,000 acres and racing into the southeast corner of Glacier View Meadows. An unconfirmed number of homes have been destroyed, according to fire officials, and nearly 1,000 more evacuation notices were issued today.
Dry, hot, gusty winds created exactly the sort of fire behavior incident commanders had been concerned about before red flag warnings went into effect at noon.
Crews had been making good progress toward keeping the fire contained south of the Poudre River in relatively nice weather the past two days. Containment of the blaze that started with a lightning strike on June 9 was reported at 60 percent Friday morning; at 10 p.m., it was back to 45 percent. The High Park Fire now covers 69,543 acres — 108.7 square miles, almost the size of Salt Lake City.
Between 1 and 2 p.m. on Friday, winds blew the fire across the Narrows, creating a spot fire on the north side of Poudre Canyon. That fire made a rapid run to the north with such intensity that hot shot crews working on structure protection in the area had to withdraw. First the Hewlett Gulch area — just reopened on Wednesday — was re-evacuated, then the order went out to filings 1 through 8 of Glacier View Meadows, which had been on pre-evacuation alert for over a week since filings 9 through 12 were evacuated on June 14. That evacuation had been prompted by a spot fire on the north side of the Poudre near Stevens Gulch that grew to about 200 acres before being contained. Later in the evening, evacuation notifications went out to residents along Colorado Highway 14 from Hewlett Road to Wild River Road and along Larimer County Road 74E — Red Feather Lakes Road — from Hewlett Gulch Road to County Road 37.
The area roughly from County Road 37 to Boy Scout Ranch Road has been evacuated. The evacuation center at the Cache La Poudre Middle School was reopened Friday night; officials will decide if it remains open n addition to the center at The Ranch, I-25 and Crossroads Boulevard in Loveland, on Saturday. For a complete list of areas that remain evacuated and roads that are closed, visit www.larimer.org/emergency/.
The daily citizens’ briefing at The Ranch has been changed to 5 p.m. Saturday.
Highway 14 is closed at mile marker 9 from U.S. Highway 287 to Boy Scout Ranch Road and County Road 74E is closed from County Road 29C — McMurray Ranch Road — to Gould. Residents of Red Feather Lakes and Crystal Lakes are asked to use Cherokee Park Road (County Road 80C) to access their residences. However, residents can go south on Boy Scout Ranch Road to Highway 14 and then west.
A complete list of road closures can be found on the Larimer County Sheriff’s website, larimersheriff.org/site-page/high-park-fire-road-information.
Tonight, five hot shot crews and 40 engines are in the Glacier View area. Tomorrow, six hot shot crews, 120 personnel, 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. The fire continues to move east toward the burn scar left by May’s Hewlett fire, which officials hope will act as a fuels break.
The red flag warning continues through the weekend, with temperatures near 100 degrees expected.
More information is available at the Larimer County Emergency Information line at 970-498-5500 where information officers are answering the phone during the day and evening and messages can be left after hours; at www.larimer.org, on Twitter @larimersheriff or Inciweb at www.inciweb.org/incident/2904/.
For the latest updated map of the High Park Fire, go to larimer.org/highparkfire/highpark_0622_0130.pdf