The sky to the west of LaPorte, which last Saturday night was filled with angry red clouds of smoke visible from as far away as Greeley, is tonight dotted with summer stars. The 1,631 personnel fighting the High Park Fire — that’s more than the entire population of the town of Ault — have contained the eastern and southern edges of the blaze and are focusing on protecting homes to the north.
At 10 p.m., managers reported 45 percent containment of the fire, which has now consumed 55,050 acres. Quiet winds and higher humidity, with a smattering of rain, on Saturday helped the containment efforts. The fire continues to push west into rugged terrain covered with pine trees standing dead due to bark beetle infestation.
The good containment news is tempered by a red flag warning issued by the National Weather Service for the fire area for tomorrow. This means winds could gust up to 50 mph along ridge tops and in the Poudre Canyon on Sunday and temperatures are expected to climb into the 90s. More crews are being deployed to the northern edge of the fire in preparation for the changing conditions.
Three new pieces of equipment were added to the arsenal of 103 engines and 16 helicopters working the fire on Saturday. The feller bunchers, which can cut and haul large numbers of trees at once, will be working on structure protection in the Buckhorn and Pingree Park areas Sunday.
Roads in and around the High Park Fire that are closed include:
• Colorado Highway 14 (Poudre Canyon) from east of Gould to Ted’s Place;
• County Road 25E (Redstone Canyon) at intersection of County Road 38E
• CR 27 (Stove Prairie Road) from Big Bear Road to Highway 14
• CR 44H (Buckhorn Road) from CR 27 west
• CR 52E (Rist Canyon Road) from Stove Prairie to Bellvue
• CR 23 North near North Horsetooth Reservoir (South Centennial/CR 23 is open)
• Forest Service Road 152 (Old Flowers Road)
• Roads off CR 74E including Many Thunders Road, Eiger Road, Green Mountain Road and Gate 1
• CR 63E Pingree Park Road and Crown Point Road from Highwaywy 14
• Roads south of CR 74E, including areas south and east of McNay Hill, Hewlett Gulch Road, Deer Meadow Way, Gordon Creek Lane and all connecting roads in that area.
Roads in the area of CR27 from Masonville to Big Bear Road, except Otter Road; County Road 29C and McMurray Ranch Road; and Highway 14 to Gateway Park are open to residents only.
Red Feather Lakes Road/CR 74E and U.S. Highway 287 are open.
Lory State Park and Horsetooth Mountain Park and Open Space remain closed through the weekend. All picnic areas, hiking trails and campgrounds accessed from Poudre Canyon and Pingree Park are closed; Hewlett Gulch and Greyrock trails remain closed as a result of last month’s Hewlett Fire, which is still listed as an active incident on the U.S. Forest Service’s Inciweb site.
Larimer County’s High Park Fire Disaster Recovery Center on the Colorado State University Campus at Johnson Hall will be open Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for the next month or so. Parking is free for victims on the south side of the administration building. For more parking information, visit www.safety.colostate.edu.
Information on the High Park Fire is available at the Larimer County Emergency Information line at 970-498-5500 where information officers are answering the phone from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. (leave a message after hours), at www.larimer.org, on Twitter @larimersheriff, or Inciweb at www.inciweb.org/incident/2904/.