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Crews battle wildfire in Poudre Canyon, voluntary evacuations issued

The voluntary evacuation area included the Mishawaka amphitheater near the Poudre River.

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Air resources were called to help battle a 16 acre wildfire that started burning at around midday Friday in Poudre Canyon.

The Larimer County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) tweeted that the wildfire is south of the Mishawaka, an iconic venue along the Poudre River northwest of Fort Collins.

An area that includes the Mishawaka was under a voluntary evacuation order, but that has been lifted. Deputies said two structures were initially threatened by the fire, but as of 3 p.m., are no longer. 

The westbound lane of Highway 14 is back open, LCSO said. The agency urged drivers to be careful, as the road is very narrow and curvy and fire equipment may be in the roadway.

The fire is contained. The Larimer County Office of Emergency Management says crews will be performing mop-up operations tonight and Saturday.

Gusty winds and high temperatures were forecast throughout Colorado on Friday, putting many fire departments on high alert.

Concerns about a dry spring and the safety of firefighters during the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many Colorado counties to issue fire bans or restrictions in an effort to curb wildfires. 

In 2012, the High Park Fire scorched 87,415 acres in and around Poudre Canyon, leaving one person dead and destroying 259 homes.  

It led to concerns about the water quality of the Poudre River, which supplies drinking water to northern Colorado hubs like Greeley and Fort Collins. 

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