High Park Fire grows west to 46,600 acres

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On Wednesday morning, High Park Fire incident command reported that while the number of personnel fighting the blaze has grown to 1,000, with 37 engines and assorted helicopters and tanker planes, the area consumed is now 46,600 acres – 73 square miles, just about a quarter larger than Fort Collins, half the size of the city and county of Denver.

The 10 percent containment has been established primarily along the southern and eastern flanks of the fire, according to the latest update on inciweb.org. The western and northwestern portions are actively burning, moving into an area where 70 percent of the trees have been killed by mountain pine beetles, providing fast-burning fuel.

Incident command also reports that structure protection, both at the perimeter of the fire and interior locations, has been successful, with many homes saved on Tuesday. Officials plan to update evacuees on the ongoing structure assessment at a meeting Wednesday at 3 p.m. at The Ranch in Loveland.

Video footage from a news helicopter confirmed that the Mishawaka Amphitheatre is untouched by the fire Tuesday afternoon.

The public has been asked to stay away from the fire area for their own safety and the safety of the firefighters. Roadblocks are now manned by National Guard members. Motorists are also asked to avoid west Laporte Avenue to allow fire equipment access.

For more information, go to www.larimer.org/emergency/emergency_detail.cfm?nam_id=85