Day three: Colorado wildfire: High Park Fire near Fort Collins now 36,930 acres, 400 personnel fighting, more than 100 homes damaged/destroyed, 1 dead

10:26 PM, Jun 11, 2012   |    comments
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Sources tell 9NEWS a 62-year-old woman died in the fire. Officials identified her as Linda Steadman. 

Search crew believe they found Steadman's remains at her house on Old Flowers Road, but positive identification could takes weeks. 

Authorities say Steadman received two notification calls. A deputy that went to her residence to warn her personally was pushed back by flames. 

The High Park Fire is now at 41,140 acres and growing significantly, with zero percent containment. Larimer County says 400 personnel are fighting the blaze. Monday afternoon, officials said at least 100 homes have been damaged or destroyed by the fire in the Rist Canyon area.

Larimer County spokesperson Nick Christensen said crews made good progress on the fire Monday.

Christensen said they are taking measures in case the fire moves north into the Glacier View area, where there are several homes just off Red Feather Lakes Road. But he stressed no evacuation orders have been issued as of Monday afternoon.

According to Larimer County, flames leapt 15 to 20 feet in the air, with some flames shooting 300 feet into the sky. Very dry brush, timber and grasses are providing the fuel for this fire.

What Larimer County is calling a "very aggressive" and "hard to fight" fire is growing at 20 to 40 feet a minute.

Larimer County officials say the lower temperatures, higher humidity levels and lower winds should help fire personnel to fight the fire. A number of air resources are battling the blaze, including five heavy-air tankers, five single-engine tankers and a few helicopters. Larimer County says two National Guard Blackhawks have been ordered, but only one is currently on the scene.

Larimer County says they are hoping at least 100 more personnel will join the fight by Monday night.

The state of Colorado activated its emergency management center in Centennial Monday morning to help send needed crews and equipment.

Emergency managers called officials in Wyoming and Nebraska asking to get neighboring states to send military helicopters with fire buckets to help.

The Colorado National Guard already has helicopters working on the High Park Fire.

Managers try to send as much support as possible without leaving other areas vulnerable in case of a new fire.

"Part of that process of deciding what goes where is also making sure that we have appropriate levels of staffing to cover the other areas of Colorado," said Micki Trost with the Colorado Division of Emergency Management. "We won't completely deplete a portion of our state in order to support another."

View map of fire perimeter here

As of Monday, 2,600 evacuation order notifications were issued for the area near the fire.

The following evacuation orders were sent out as of Monday:

  • South of CR38E to Gindler Ranch Road west to Milner Ranch Road
  • North of County Road 38E, from Horsetooth Reservoir to Redstone Canyon to Lory State park
  • Bonner Peaks subdivision
  • County Road 44H (Buckhorn Road) from County Road 27 to Pennock Pass and residents to the south approximately 3/4-1 mile, you will need to exit the area by going east on County Road 44H/Buckhorn Road
  • CR27E to Bellvue
  • Areas south and west of Bellvue to include the Lory State Park area, the Redstone Canyon area and Buckhorn Road up to the Stove Prairie School
  • Poudre Canyon from MM111 to MM118 on Highway 14. This means Poudre Canyon from Stove Prairie to MM118 is under mandatory evacuations
  • The area between CR27E and Stove Prairie Road and south through the entire Rist Canyon area including Davis Ranch Road, Whale Rock Road. South on CR44H 3 miles to just north of Stringtown Gulch Road
  • Paradise Park Road, Moose Horn Lane, Magic Lane and Spencer Mountain Road
  • Old Flowers Road from Stove Prairie Road to the 8000 block of Old Flowers Road
  • Stove Prairie Road north along County Road 27 to Highway 14, east along Highway 14 to approximately mile marker 111, southeast to Rist Canyon Fire Station 1, then back west to include Wilderness Ridge Way, Rist Creek Road, Spring Valley Road and County Road 41 and all of the roads that run off of it

According to Larimer County, many residents are refusing to evacuate. The county is keeping a record of who refused for public records. 

The shelter set up at Cache La Poudre Middle School closed Sunday night due to smoke. The shelter has moved to The Ranch, along Interstate-25/Crossroads Boulevard, between Loveland and Fort Collins.

Large animals and livestock can be taken to The Ranch also. Small domestic animals can be taken to the Larimer County Humane Society. If you want to help the evacuated animals, you can donate to the Larimer Humane Society online,

Nine wolves were evacuated to the Wolf Sanctuary in Larimer County. Each wolf is with its packmate, so they are in groups of two or three. Volunteers are with the wolves 24 hours a day. If you would like to help, offers can be made on their Facebook page They need lots of items such as dog food, bowls, kennels, blankets and various other things listed on their Facebook page.

"The community is here for you and the community really does care. So, thank you for those who care," Patricia Billinger, with the American Red Cross, said Monday.

One firefighter was taken non-emergent by ambulance out of the area for heat exhaustion yesterday. There have been no other injuries reported at this time.

At least 100 home were lost or damaged due to the fire with more threatened. Monday morning, Larimer County confirmed the structures were mostly lost in the following areas:

  • Rist Canyon
  • Stove Prairie to Old Flowers Road
  • Paradise Park
  • Poudre Canyon and Park

There are many unburned areas within the perimeter of the fire, so residents should not assume their homes are damaged or destroyed. An assessment and recovery team will be working to identify specific addresses of damaged or destroyed properties.

"It's pretty tough, people have lost their homes and everything they owned," Hickenlooper said. "Their world is very different than it was a day ago."

Road closures include:


  • Highway 14 from Ted's Place to Stove Prairie Road
  • Highway 14 east of CR69
  • CR23 & Lodge Pole/Lory State Park
  • CR25E & CR54E
  • CR27 (Stove Prairie Road) south from Highway 14 
  • CR27 (Stove Prairie Road) one mile south of CR44H (Buckhorn Road)
  • CR27 & CR38E
  • CR27 north of CR44H
  • CR38E and CR25E
  • CR44H (Buckhorn Road) west of CR27
  • CR52E (Rist Canyon Road) west of CR27E
  • CR52E (Rist Canyon Road) CR25E Bellvue
  • CR69 & Highway 14

Highway 287 was reopened Monday morning.

The High Park Fire was first spotted at around 6 a.m. Saturday. Crews had to hike through difficult terrain to first reach the area.

Lightning cause the High Park Fire.

The Governor also spoke about the dry conditions in Colorado. He said there's a possibility of larger fire bans and restrictions for the Fourth of July holiday.

See if your county is under a fire ban


(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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