LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. — Editor's Note: An updated version of this story can be found here.
Challenging weather conditions are expected Wednesday afternoon for firefighters battling the Cameron Peak Fire in Larimer County.
High winds will produce very active fire behavior and put a lot of smoke into the air, according to the incident command team.
Crews will secure additional sections of the fire perimeter where possible, but the priorities for Wednesday will be public and firefighter safety first and structure protection.
Earlier this week, active fire conditions led firefighters to pull back from a particularly active section of the fire for their own safety, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
Those firefighters have been able to return to the area.
According to a tweet, the fire had become "very active" all the way from The Retreat to Storm Mountain. Crews in the area pulled back and left sprinklers behind to protect structures.
When firefighters were able to return, they found that no additional structures had been damaged.
>> Watch below: Resident protects home from Cameron Peak fire with garden hose.
Windy conditions are now making it difficult for crews in some areas to conduct retardant drops.
The Cameron Peak Fire, has grown to 206,009 acres with 52% containment – down from 62% containment on Sunday.
The wildfire, which started Aug. 13 near Cameron Pass and Chambers Lake, is the largest wildfire in Colorado's recorded history after a surge east over last week prompted new evacuations.
Incident Commander Dan Dallas on Monday night said crews "had a very good day" after seeing only 100 acres of growth and no additional structure loss.
There's a small threat of the fire pushing into Estes Park, fire officials said. There's been ongoing communication with town officials, but evacuations are not an imminent issue.
Firefighters said fire activity could increase due to three consecutive days of dry weather and poor overnight humidity recovery. A Red Flag Warning is in place for noon Wednesday until 8 a.m. Thursday morning.
A virtual community meeting is planned for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
>> Watch Monday's full community meeting below
The Larimer County Sheriff's Office (LCSO) lifted evacuation orders on Sunday afternoon for Manhattan Road, Shambhala Center and County Road 103 from the Tunnel Campground north. Residents may return home with no restrictions.
LCSO issued mandatory evacuation orders on Friday and Saturday for:
- The area on the east side of Glade Road from north Mildred Lane to north of Spring Canyon Ranch Road.
- All of County Road 52E (Rist Canyon Road) from County Road 27 east to County Road 27E.
- County Road 27 east to the Devils Backbone.
- Highway 34 from the Dam Store to just west of Soul Shine Road.
- Pinewood Reservoir to Flatiron Reservoir.
- County Road 29 to the west side of County Road 27 north of Highway 34.
A portion of County Road 27 was briefly dropped to voluntary evacuation, but now remains in mandatory evacuation status, LCSO said. The east side of County Road 27 south of Mildred Lane down to County Road 24H remains on mandatory evacuation.
A voluntary evacuation was issued Saturday for residents and businesses on Road 38E from Rim Rock Valley Lane over to South Bay.
The Colorado Department of Transportation urged travelers to avoid the area to allow emergency responders and evacuees to move as needed.
See an interactive map of the evacuation areas below:
Structure damage has been reported in several areas including:
- Along Colorado Highway 14 corridor
- Manhattan Road
- Boy Scout Ranch Road
- Redstone Canyon area
- Stringtown Gulch
- Moondance Way
- Buckhorn Road
- Pingree Park Road
Details on damage and access can be found at larimer.org/cameron-peak-fire.
The Larimer County Joint Information Center is available at 970-980-2500 to provide information about evacuations, road closures, property assessments, credentials and large and small animal shelters.
Sign up for Larimer County Emergency Alerts: nocoalert.org
The American Red Cross on Monday said caseworkers were being assigned to each client and that 169 people were working the fire as volunteers to help 1,300 evacuees.
About 18,000 snacks and dinners had been handed out to evacuees and Red Cross crews were also distributing emergency clean up kits with brushes, shovels, rakes and gloves.
If you are an evacuee or someone who has been impacted by the wildfires and needs assistance, call 1-800-417-0495.
To sign up to volunteer, email Joshua.Stewart@redcross.org.
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