Six days after it was first reported, the High Park Fire has consumed 52,000 acres — 81 square miles, an area larger than Fort Wayne, Ind. The 1,300 firefighters and air support have achieved 15 percent containment, according to the Larimer County Sheriff’s Department.
The fire grew approximately 2,000 acres on Thursday, the lowest daily growth to date, thanks to a brief rain shower on the western edge. The interior and west side of the fire are still active, while the southeast and northeast corners are mopping up. Southwest crews are maintaining the fire at Buckhorn Road.
Despite a jump to the north side of the Poudre River that prompted the evacuation of about 80 homes in Glacier View at about 5:30 p.m., the Poudre Canyon area was less active than in previous days, the sheriff’s department reported.
Of the approximate 2,600 evacuation notifications sent out, 1,187 have been lifted. The most recent were at about 2 p.m., when fire officials issued an all-clear for County Road 29C and McMurry Ranch Road. An all-clear was also issued for the area of Big Bear Road, Bar D Ranch Road, south on the Buckhorn Road to the junction of the Masonville Road, northwest to include Alfalfa Way, Buckhorn Ridge Way and Running Brook Lane.
Residents in these areas may return to their homes with proper credentials, available at the evacuation center at The Ranch in Loveland or the nearest road block, issued based on identification with proof of address.
Soldier and Mill Canyon as well as Redstone Canyon and Buckstone Heights remain closed due to hot spots and fire activity. Buckhorn Road also remains closed to Masonville.
Officials will be evaluating the Cloudy Pass area to see if conditions are safe for residents to return, according to sheriff’s department spokesman John Schulz. More information will be available at the 3 p.m. citizens’ briefing at The Ranch on Friday.
After being evacuated on Sunday, the owners of the Bellvue Bean reopened the coffee shop at 5032 Rist Canyon Road on Thursday. Azarie Furlong-Wurtzburg said they will open between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. as a place for Bellvue community members to gather. The Bean will also be offering free coffee and bagels to fire and rescue workers and free sack lunches and water for anyone who has been evacuated while supplies last.
“Do know that this is not business as usual; we are focusing on those in need at this time,” she wrote on the shop’s website. “Thanks again to all the emergency rescue crews and firefighters. We appreciate all that you have done and all that you are doing still.”
The current cost of fighting the fire is now estimated at $7.2 million dollars.
Larimer County will open the High Park Fire Disaster Recovery Center at 7 a.m. Friday, June 15, at Johnson Hall on the Colorado State University Campus. The center will be open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for the next three to four weeks to help residents affected by the fire. For more information, visit the county website at www.larimer.org/highparkfire.
Information is also available at the Larimer County Emergency Information line at 970-498-5500 where Information Officers are answering the phone, or on Twitter @larimersheriff, or Inciweb at www.inciweb.org/incident/2904/.