High Park Fire — Day 18

The High Park Fire is now the most destructive fire in Colorado history, having burned 257 homes — almost twice as many as the Fourmile Canyon Fire in Boulder in 2010. High Park Fire is estimated at 87,284 acres — two-thirds the size of the state’s largest wildfire ever, the Hayman Fire in Jefferson County in 2002. The cost of fighting the High Park Fire to date is estimated at $33.1 million — 80 percent the total cost of fighting the Hayman Fire. The High Park Fire has burned for 18 days — three weeks less than the time it took to bring the Hayman Fire under control — and is 65 percent contained.

Attention has turned to the Waldo Canyon Fire raging uncontained near Colorado Springs, which will likely become more destructive than High Park soon. And residents in south Boulder are evacuating ahead of the Flagstaff Fire that was started by lightning this afternoon.

As new fires chase people from their homes, High Park Fire officials are allowing local residents to return. The Larimer County’s Sheriff department has reopened the Poudre Park neighborhood. Residents on Colorado Highway 14 between Manners Lane and Hewlett Gulch Road are allowed to return using their previously issued credentials.

Highway 14 remains restricted to credentialed residents only from County Road 29C — Missile Silo Road — to Hewlett Gulch Road and is closed to all traffic west of Hewlett Gulch Road.

Officials also plan to reopen a large section of homes in the Rist Canyon area on Thursday, June 28, at 5 p.m. Residents will need credentials to enter the area when it opens. Credentials may be obtained in advance at the 5 p.m. citizen briefings on Wednesday and Thursday at the Cache La Poudre Middle School, 3515 W. County Road 54G in LaPorte.

Larimer County’s High Park Fire Disaster Recovery Center on the Colorado State University Campus at Johnson Hall is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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 complete information on this emergency, see www.larimer.org/emergency/emergency_detail.cfm?nam_id=85.