High Park Fire 10 percent contained, still very active

More firefighting resources meant more progress against the High Park Fire on Tuesday. At 9 p.m., it was reported burning on 43,372 acres with 10 percent containment, compared to 5 percent containment earlier in the day. The structure protection group worked on the southeast and southwest flanks of the fire saving numerous homes, according to the Larimer County Sheriff’s Department.

There are 634 personnel and 37 engines working the fire Tuesday, with 100 engines expected by Wednesday. In addition, five heavy air tankers, two lead planes, an air attack lead plane, five single engine tankers, and 15 helicopters provided retardant and water drops throughout the day.

Evacuees could learn more about the fate of their homes at a briefing set for 3 p.m. on Wednesday at The Ranch in Loveland, where an evacuation center has been operating since Sunday night.

Roads in the area south of County Road 74E, south and east of McNay Hill, including Hewlett Gulch Road, Deer Meadow Way, Gordon Creek Lane and connecting roadways are now open to residents only.

The cost of fighting the High Park Fire to date is $3 million. Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a declaration that allocates $20 million to the Disaster Emergency Fund to pay for firefighting costs. The money will come from two sources: $12 million from the Major Medical Insurance Fund, and $8 million from the Perpetual Base Account of the Severance Tax Fund.

State law does not allow people who have lost homes or property in the fire to seek reimbursement from these funds.

Hickenlooper also signed an executive order activating the Colorado National Guard to assist in the firefighting efforts. Fifty Guard members are now manning roadblocks under the direction of the sheriff.

In addition, a FEMA emergency grant was approved on Monday that will allow the federal agency to pick up 75 percent of the actual costs.

Temporary closures at Horsetooth Reservoir, Horsetooth Mountain Open Space, and Eagle’s Nest Open Space have been extended through Thursday, June 14. Updates regarding the weekend will be released by noon Wednesday and posted at www.larimer.org/naturalresources.

Campers who have reservations at Horsetooth Reservoir for any days between June 11 and 14 should call 1-800-397-7795 to change or cancel.

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