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Extreme fire behavior expected over the weekend as Cameron Peak Fire grows to 199,356 acres

A mandatory evacuation was issued Saturday afternoon for an area on the east side of Glade Road, parts of County Road 27 and all of County Road 52E.

LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. — After a reprieve on Thursday, extreme fire danger was expected for the Cameron Peak Fire in the coming days, according to incident managers.

At 199,356 acres, the Cameron Peak Fire became the largest wildfire in Colorado’s recorded history after a surge east this week that prompted new evacuations in the foothills west of Fort Collins.

The blaze is 62% contained, and 1,542 personnel were helping to fight the fire, with structure protection being a key priority.

Larimer County Sheriff's Office issued new mandatory evacuation orders on Saturday:

  • 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.

New Voluntary Evacuations issued on Saturday:

  • Residents and businesses on Road 38E from Rim Rock Vally Lane over to South Bay are advised to evacuate. 

Mandatory evacuations on Friday were:

  • 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

Officials said residents and businesses should leave immediately. The Red Cross was offering assistance to evacuees at the Days Inn at 7860 6th St. in Wellington.

There was also a new voluntary evacuation order for County Road 29 to the west side of County Road 27 north of Highway 34.

The Colorado Department of Transportation is urging travelers to avoid the area to allow emergency responders and evacuees to move as needed.

RELATED: CDOT urges travelers to avoid wildfire areas in Larimer, Boulder counties

RELATED: Cameron Peak Fire now largest in state history

Some pre-evacuation orders on the northern end of the fire near Red Feather Lakes were lifted on Thursday.

Multiple structures have been destroyed in the areas of Pingree Park Road, Lazy Knee and Inca, as well as both sides of 44H and the Groove Springs area, officials confirmed during a community meeting Wednesday night.

Preventing additional structure damage will be the goal in the coming days. Wind gusts up to 70 mph and exceptionally dry fuels will likely lead to “extreme fire behavior” over the weekend.

RELATED: Extreme fire danger in mountains, warm in metro

A Red Flag Warning was in effect beginning Friday and into Sunday.

Structure triage and assessments have been completed in the Falls River corridor, Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, Estes Park Valley, Glen Haven and the storm mountain areas, and firefighters are beginning to build lines in the area.

A Structure Protection Group on Friday was working to the north of the fire to provide point protection in the Red Feather and Crystal Lakes areas as needed. Another group is working to the south and east of the fire edge to assess needs and establish point protection where it's safe to do so — including the areas and communities between Wednesday's fire growth and Glen Haven to the south.

For some, evacuating involves more than just packing up some valuables. 

"We have about 60 horses," said Robyn Morgan with Sylvan Dale Ranch. "It takes a while to get a lot of trailers in here and horses are very sensitive to smoke and fire."

The ranch is just outside the mandatory evacuation zone right now. They are moving all of their horses to land that is safer. 

"We’d rather get ahead of it before things get worse," said Alicia Rodriguez-Alexander, a wrangler at Sylvan Dale Ranch. "I’m just in go mode. These horses are like my coworkers. Got to take care of them, got to get it done. Think about the rest later."

The sunsets come earlier in October than when the fire started in August. The helplessness that comes with watching the fire grow is what’s hardest to come to terms with.

"The sun was just an orange ball in the sky," said Lori Glasgow, the head wrangler at Sylvan Dale Ranch. "It’s scary. I think it’s scary. I do not want it to come this way. This is too beautiful of a ranch to be burned up."

See an interactive map of the evacuation areas below:

Evacuees can call the American Red Cross at 1-800-417-0495 press #1 for assistance.

The Red Cross tweeted Friday that evacuees can head to Americinn at 7645 Westgate Dr. in Fort Collins.

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 sheltering. 

Sign up for Larimer County Emergency Alerts: nocoalert.org 

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