Day 15: Colorado wildfire - High Park Fire near Fort Collins now 81,190 acres, 45 percent containment, 191 homes destroyed, 1 dead

11:52 PM, Jun 23, 2012   |    comments
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It is the second largest fire in Colorado history, as well as the most destructive. 

The High Park Fire remains at 45 percent containment after reaching 60 percent earlier in the week.

At least 191 homes were lost, including an unknown number of other structures. The total cost to fight the fire is estimated at $27.6 million.

Nearly 1,000 evacuation notices were sent out Friday to residents near the High Park Fire. Friday's evacuation area centered mainly along Red Feather's Lake Road (CR 74) as spot fires moved into the Glacier View area.

Some residents who received notices Friday had only returned home two days earlier after leaving when the fire flared up Sunday.

Firefighting crews had no choice but to turn and run in the face of the fast moving fire north of the Poudre River. They left behind homes they'd spent days protecting.

Sky9 captured dramatic video of multiple homes burning in the southern part of Glacier View Meadows. 

An unconfirmed preliminary report indicates that 4 to 10 more structures were destroyed with the increase in fire activity Friday. The official number still stands at 191.

The American Red Cross moved all shelter operations to Cache La Poudre Middle School, 3515 W. County Rd. 54G, LaPorte on Saturday.  

The shelter at Cache La Poudre will provide shelter and food. Evacuees can continue to go to The Ranch for meals, mental health support and access to services such as a mobile health clinic and laundry.

Friday's evacuation area:

Highway 14 from Hewlett Road and Wild River Road, east on Highway 14 to include Falls Creek Drive, all of Poudre Park, Wonderful Place, Ray Shoaf Lane and east to Manners Lane. This includes all homes addressed on the north and south sides of Highway 14 between Hewlett Rd and Manners Ln. Residents should evacuate to Cache La Poudre middle school at 3515 W. CR54G in Laporte.

The second order includes all residents of Filings 1 through 8 in Glacier View, homes north of County Road 74E to include Green Mountain Drive, Mount Axtell Drive, Mount Moriah Road, Mount Simon Drive and all connecting roadways in that area. 

This is the first time residents north of CR 74E were issued evacuation notices since the fire began.

Earlier Friday, officials issued evacuation orders for all North Rim Road residents and all small roads running off of there (including Hidden Canyon Driver, Willow Mountain Court, Elkhorn House Road and Deep Cut Road).

Friday's orders prompted the Red Cross to reopen the Evacuation Shelter at the Cache Le Poudre Middle School in La Port. The school is located at 3515 West County Road 54G in La Porte, Colorado.

Governor John Hickenlooper signed an executive order that authorizes an additional $5 million to the state's Disaster Emergency Fund to pay for firefighting efforts in the High Park Fire. An earlier executive order OK'd $20 million for the fire. 

Fire danger will remain high on Friday - at least over northwest Colorado - through Saturday. A RED FLAG WARNING will continue for areas near Steamboat Springs, Craig, Meeker and the western slope until 8 p.m. Saturday.

View the High Park Fire progression map here

The cost of fighting the fire has ballooned to an estimated $25.5 million and climbing.

More than 1,800 personnel are working on the fire with a 24-hour schedule using day and night shifts. Firefighters have put in nearly 250,000 hours of work on the High Park Fire, which translates into nearly 18 years-worth of hours.

There are 135 engines on the scene and 18 helicopters battling the blaze.

According to Larimer County officials, there are more than 700 residences in the High Park Fire perimeter.

The following list is of confirmed structures destroyed in the High Park Fire:

  • Soldier Canyon - 1
  • Missile Silo Road - 1
  • Cloudy Pass - 1
  • Picnic Rock - 1
  • Pine Acres - 5
  • Stratton Park - 21
  • Poudre Canyon - 17
  • Spring Valley - 3
  • Old Flowers - 1
  • Whale Rock - 40
  • Paradise Park - 12
  • Tip Top - 2
  • Redstone - 1
  • Rist Creek - 7
  • Davis Ranch - 51
  • Laurence Creek/Redstone - 0
  • Buckhorn - 8
  • Stove Prairie Road - 11
  • Rist Canyon - 8

Officials continue to assess other damaged or destroyed properties.

Other evacuations include:

  • Pingree Park Road, Hourglass and Comanche reservoirs, east on Buckhorn Road up to and including Pennock Pass, NE to junction with Stove Prairie and Hwy 14; West to junction with Highway 15 and Pingree Park Road
  • County Road 44H (Buckhorn Road) from County Road 27 to Pennock Pass and residents to the south approximately 3/4 - 1 mile
  • 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 MM114 on Highway 14. (Stove Prairie to Hewlett Gulch Trail)
  • The area between CR 27E and Stove Prairie Road and south through the entire Rist Canyon area including Davis Ranch Road, Whale Rock Road
  • South on County Road 44H 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 to include Wilderness Ridge Way, Rist Creek Road, Spring Valley Road and County Road 41 and all of the roads that run off it
  • Otter Road off of CR 27
  • King's Canyon area and Boyd Gulch Road
  • Satanka Cove 

Find out road closure information here

Larimer County opened the High Park Fire Disaster Recovery Center on June 15, at Johnson Hall on the Colorado State University Campus. The center is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The center will likely remain open for three to four weeks. More information about the Disaster Recovery Center at larimer.org.

The Red Cross opened a second shelter on June 15 at the Cache La Poudre Middle School, located at 3515 West County 54G in Laporte. 

Red Cross Service Center at McKee Bldg is offering assistance to those residents whose homes were destroyed by the High Park Fire. Residents are urged to come to the McKee Building for individual client service to find out what assistance is available from the Red Cross. Service Center is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 7 p.m. on Sunday.

Clean up kits are available at the Disaster Recourse Center located on the CSU Campus, Johnson Hall. Shovels, rakes, cleaning supplies, gloves, face masks and sifters are available. Hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

Clothing, bedding and other household items are available at the High Park Donations Collection Center operated by Adventist Community Services. The Center is located in Fort Collins at Foothills Mall, 215 E. Foothills Pkwy. 

Legal assistance is being made available to those affected by the High Park Fire. A toll free legal helpline is available at 1-800-332-6736. Callers will leave their name, contact information and legal issue and will be contacted by an attorney in 48 hours. For more information call 303-824-5347.

Due to the high-fire danger and the very dry conditions in Colorado, Governor Hickenlooper banned open burning and private use of fireworks throughout the state. The ban does not apply to campfires in fire pits, fireplaces, grills or controlled burns for agricultural purposes. Commercial, professional and municipal firework displays are allowed as long as they have the proper permits.

Some cities, however, already have the go-ahead for their July 4th fireworks shows. A list of cancelled and approved fireworks shows can be found here.

On June 11, authorities confirmed 62-year-old Linda Steadman died from the blaze. Search crews found Steadman's remains at her house on Old Flowers Road.

Authorities say Steadman received two notification calls. A deputy was on his way to personally warn her, but he was pushed back by flames.

Large animals and livestock can be taken to The Ranch Events Complex at 5280 Arena Circle, Suite 100 in Loveland 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, www.larimerhumane.org.

All the wolves were evacuated from the Wolf Sanctuary after the fire broke out. If you would like to help, offers can be made on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/nocowolfsanctuary.

The High Park Fire was first spotted at around 6 a.m. on June 9. Crews had to hike through difficult terrain to first reach the area.

Officials say lightning caused the High Park Fire.

Resources:

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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