4:29pm

Sat March 16, 2013
Wildfires

Galena Fire 45% Contained, 750-1000 acres, Evacuated Residents To Return Home

The Galena fire burning near Horsetooth Reservoir northwest of Fort Collins remains 45 percent contained and around 750 to 1000 acres in size.

All evacuated residents will be allowed to return home at 8 p.m. Saturday, but will remain on pre-evacuation notice. Credentials are not required to return to the evacuated area.

Nick Christensen with the Larimer County Sheriff's Department says a type 2 helicopter continues to drop water on hotspots in the fire zone. Another type 2 helicopter will arrive on scene to assist Sunday.

Poudre Fire Authority Chief Tom DeMint says the fire is holding steady, with cloudy skies, cooler temperatures, and light showers keeping the fire from exploding as was seen on Friday, the first day of the fire. Chief DeMint says forecasts tomorrow call for 50 mile per hour winds and temps in the 60’s.

DeMint says those conditions could cause fire behavior to change and intensify. However, when the fire made its initial run yesterday through a valley and meadow, it consumed fuel and created what DeMint calls a ‘black line.’ He says if there is a strong westerly wind as is forecast, the fire will be pushed back toward that burned area and not further uphill toward unburned trees and brush.

There have been no structures lost due to the fire, and DeMint says with no cuts to electricity, evacuees returning to their homes are unlikely to see any damage.

Lory State Park and Horsetooth Mountain park remains closed. Residents and citizens not from the evacuated zones should continue to stay out of the area.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. DeMint says the blaze began near the entrance of Lory State Park. Poudre Fire Authority investigators have determined the cause and origin of the blaze and continue to stress that it was not a controlled or illegal burn, nor a slash pile. DeMint says it wasn’t anyone burning on purpose. The Poudre Fire Authority will work with the Larimer County Sheriff’s Department as well as the Larimer County District Attorney to see if any charges will be filed.