5:58am

Sun June 10, 2012
Wildfires

High Park Fire: Day 2 Updates

  • Grace Hood reporting for KUNC News & NPR

Editor's NoteThe High Park Fire started on Saturday, June 9th . Winds and high temperatures helped the fire rapidly spread. The blaze has grown from an initial 8,000 acres by the end of Saturday to an estimated 20,000+ by  the end of Sunday. Our day 1 updates are archived here, this post serves to archive updates from Sunday, June 10th. Current updates for Monday, June 11th have moved to this post.

Update 9:11pm via the Larimer Sheriff on Twitter

The evacuation center is being moved back to the McKee Building at The Ranch due to smoke. The Cache La Poudre Middle School will no longer serve as the evacuation center. Tomorrow's citizen briefings at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. will take place at the McKee Building.

 

Update 7:54pm

The estimated size of the fire has been increased, it is now 20,000 acres and continuing to grow.

Update 7:51pm via Kirk Siegler on Twitter

 

Update 7:48pm

This just came in via the inciweb page:

"New evacuation order for the area south of County Road 38E from Gindler Ranch Road west to Milner Ranch Road (325 notifications). This area is located south and west of the Horsetooth Reservoir inlet. The High Park Fire is moving rapidly in this direction."

Update 7:39pm

The High Park Fire continues to burn west of Fort Collins. No firm size estimation is available except as to classify the fire as growing, active and wind driven. At present the best estimation is 14,000+ acres.

The latest wildfire in the northern Colorado region was reported on Saturday, June 9th around 5:54am. Initial reports of larger amounts of smoke came about in late morning and coverage of the fire on KUNC started at 12:15pm on Saturday. Cause of the fire is still under investigation, but at this moment it is a suspected lightning strike that caused the blaze.

The fire continues to be aided by wind and rough terrain, additionally, there are areas of beetle killed trees as well.

On Monday morning a Type 1 Management Team is expected to take over management of the fire effort. In addition to the previous resources available to fight the fire, the Colorado National Guard is now on hand to support efforts with two UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters and their crew.

This will be our final scheduled update of the evening. We will continue to monitor the situation and only update in the event of a change in the fire or other breaking item related to the High Park Fire.

Update 5:15pm via the Larimer Sheriff on Twitter

 

Update 5:00pm via Matt W. on Twitter

 

Update 4:49pm

With this recent round of evacuation orders, the total notifications for evacuation sent for this fire now total about 2,200. Please note: that number is for contacts, not homes or residents.

Update 4:45pm via the Larimer Sheriff on Twitter

 

Update 4:40pm

The High Park Fire remains at 14,000 plus acres and is growing quickly. Containment is 0%. Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith says it has crossed over Highway 14 and is moving north.

“By the time I got there it had spotted to the north and at this point it’s probably going to make a run. And this is another example – these folks are doing everything they can but Mother Nature is running this fire yesterday and today. All we can do is get people out of the way.”

Ash from the fire fell on Smith during his briefing. He says so far more than 1900 emergency notifications have been sent out for evacuations. New evacuations have ordered for Bonner Peak Subdivision. And for Buckhorn Rd from CR27 to Pennock Pass and residents to the south.

Smith says more resources have been ordered including more hand crews, more engines, and more aircraft.  Requests for aircraft are also being made to the military.

This is what Smith had to say as to the cause of this blaze that was reported early yesterday morning.

“So far we have not seen any indications of a man-started fire which leads us to continue to believe there’s a good chance we’re looking at lightning or natural cause – however it’s not enough to make a conclusion but that’s the direction that things are looking right now,” says Smith.

There is no containment on the High Park Fire. Smith says things are simply too erratic for any type of containment today. High winds have reportedly grounded some of the larger helicopters working the fire this afternoon.

18 structures have been destroyed. That number is expected to increase.

Reporter Grace Hood filed the above audio report on the High Park Fire.

Update 4:27pm

KUNC Staff member Dave Dennis was among the personnel who attempted to go up to Buckhorn Mtn. today. While changing conditions did not allow them to reach the transmitter, he did grab some pictures while near the entrance to Rist Canyon.

Update 3:37pm

Additional evacuations have been ordered for Buckhorn Rd. from CR27 to Pennock Pass. Residents should leave by going east on Buckhorn Rd. Shelter is at Cache La Poudre Middle School. Via the Larimer Sheriff on Twitter:

 

Update 3:20pm

As we reported at 11:45am one of the objectives for the day was to keep the fire within the boundaries of north of Buckhorn Road, east of Pingree Park Road, South of Highway 14, and west of Boyd Gulch/Redstone Canyon. The inciweb site for the High Park Fire is reporting that the fire has crossed Highway 14. This would indicate that the fire is moving north.

A media briefing is scheduled for 3:30pm, we hope to have more details then.

Update 3:08pm

We have now confirmed: CLOSED: US 287 both directions Owl Canyon to CR 54G due to wildfire.

The Larimer Sheriff has also issued evacuation orders for the Bonner Peaks Subdivision. Residents need to exit the area via Owl Canyon Rd.

Update 2:51pm

Heard that US 287 between Laramie, WY and Fort Collins was closed. This is unconfirmed, repeat unconfirmed. However, while checking on this, I stumbled on this CDOT camera shot from Virginia Dale. The camera is facing south looking towards the fire from up north. 

Update 2:21pm

We've gathered together a Storify collection of pictures off of social media from today.

[View the story "#HighParkFire Pictures 6/10" on Storify]

Update 2:01pm

Reporter Nathan Heffel was on site at the Ranch. He sent this in:

The Ranch Events Complex (5280 Arena Circle, Suite 100Loveland, CO80538) IS STILL accepting animals displaced by the fire, and the Larimer Sheriff’s office says the site is in need of hay. Livestock and hay donations can be brought to the Ranch-Way Feeds West Pavilion.

Larimer County Sheriff’s representatives at the site say If you see or know of an animal that needs evacuation from the fire with no means to move it, please call Larimer County Sheriffs Dispatch at 970-416-1985.

Also, in a day that has been difficult for many, and emotionally taxing, Nathan was able to send along a picture on Twitter that helps alleviate some of the stress for today.

 

Update 1:42pm via Grace Hood on Twitter

 

Update 1:29pm

A wildfire health advisory as been released. As would be expected, if you see or smell smoke you should avoid outdoor physical activity.

We've updated our headline to reflect the growing nature of this fire. No firm numbers are established for the size of the burn, but considering the growing nature of the fire it would be accurate to state 14,000+ acres. Here is the latest list of resources fighting the fire:

  • Eight 20-person crews and other firefighters
  • 5 Single Engine Air Tankers (SEAT)
  • 2 Type 1 Helitankers
  • 2 Type 3 Helicopters
  • 3 Heavy Air Tankers
  • Air Attack; and Lead Plane
  • Approximately 15 engines are on scene

Update 1:12pm

Speaking on 7News moments ago, John Schulz with the Larimer County Sheriff's office was covering the status of Buckhorn Mtn. Buckhorn houses both the main transmitter site for KUNC, all county communications, and KJAC and KXGR. According to Schulz there is no power on site and only battery backup, which will eventually run out. Fire authorities are working on protection for the site since it houses critical communications.

I can also report that KUNC has received permission to visit the site and personnel are on their way up there. We hope to have more details, a damage assessment, a report and pictures from the scene soon. Until further notice KUNC remains off the air on 91.5fm.

Update 12:41pm

At 11:24am we reported on a pre-evacuation alert for CR 29C & McMurry Ranch Road. We are able to confirm now that it is no longer an alert. Evacuation ordered for CR 29C and McMurry Ranch Road (33 notifications).

Cache La Poudre Middle School is the evacuation center.

Update 12:40pm

Live helicopter video above the fire is available via 7News.

We are also working on collecting photos of the High Park from today in a Storify, similar to our collection from yesterday. We'll post here and notify on social media once it is complete.

Update 12:26pm

One of the difficulties in reporting on the High Park Fire has been the rapidly changing size and scope of the blaze. Comparatives are helpful when you need to explain exactly what 14,000 acres looks like. The Denver Post has offered up this example on Twitter:

 

Update 12:02pm

The Larimer Sheriff has stated that the evacuation center at the Ranch is being closed. All evacuees should instead go to Cache La Poudre Middle School in Laporte.

Update 11:45am

Reporter Grace Hood has passed along some incredible footage from the evacuation yesterday in the face of the approaching High Park Fire. This footage comes to us from Cyndi Cecchinelli and it's her husband, Wade, who actually shot the video. Their cabin is on Old Flowers Rd. This video is used with permission. We've been speaking to the very quick and fast moving nature of this fire and this first hand account is the best testament we have so far.

One of the stated goals for today from fire personnel is to contain the fire within specific boundaries. The boundaries are north of Buckhorn Road, east of Pingree Park Road, South of Highway 14, and west of Boyd Gulch/Redstone Canyon.

Update 11:32am

KUNC News Director Brian Larson passed along this helpful link. If you are looking for another information resource, here is a streaming link to the radio scanner traffic in Larimer County: LINK

Update 11:24am via the Larimer Sheriff on Twitter

 

Additionally, there are now 33 Pre-evacuation alerts for CR 29C & McMurry Ranch Road. Residents are being asked to prepare for a possible evacuation if needed.

Update 10:21am

One of the items covered in the media briefing this morning, and mentioned yesterday, was the difficulty of requisitioning air resources for this fire as there still is a major wildfire burning in New Mexico. Reporter Nathan Heffel has more this morning, as the U.S. Forest Service remains confident in their air capability.

Update 9:53am

Governor Hickenlooper just spoke to the assembled press. He made the statement that the fire is "12,000 acres burned so far, but that is changing rapidly".

Update 9:46am

Here is video of the fire that shows the proximity of the fire to the main transmitter site on Buckhorn Mtn. Thanks to bnvn1 for posting this to youtube.

Update 9:34am via Reporter Grace Hood on Twitter

 

Update 9:30am

Officials led the media briefing with a quick update of facts on the fire. As of now, there is no confirmed size on the growth of the High Park Fire other than a statement that there was "significant" growth overnight. Additional air resources have been called for. It is the hope that with these resources in place they can get a better estimation of the size of the fire, hopefully by this afternoon.

Wind is still a factor in the fire's growth, giving it the capability to move at 1.5 miles per hour. Fire growth has been pretty dramatic. North Forty News got this quote from the briefing:

 

Update 9:25am

List of road closures in the area:

  • Highway 14 from Ted's Place to Stove Prairie Road
  • CR27 (Stove Prairie Road) south from Highway 14 
  • CR27 north of CR44H
  • CR44H (Buckhorn Road) west of CR27
  • CR52E (Rist Canyon Road) west of CR27E

Update 9:21am From the media briefing via the Times-Call on Twitter

 

Update 9:18am

Here is a list of the resources on scene helping with the High Park Fire:

  • 250 ground and engine crews are fighting the fire.
  • There are 15 engines and 3 water tenders on scene.
  • 2 SEATS (Single Engine Air Tankers)
  • 2 type 3 helos
  • 2 type 1 helos
  • Air Attack control plane
  • Lead plane
  • 2 heavy air tankers

Update 9:10am

A perimeter map of the High Park Fire has been released. We have updated the lead photo on this post with it. Click on the picture to enlarge.

Update 9:05am

From the briefing:

"High Park Fire is currently at 8,000 acres with 0% containment. We do know that the fire did grow significantly overnight but we're waiting for air flights this morning to get an updated number.

Over 800 emergency notifications have been sent so far today bringing the total number to about 1600. These are notifications NOT homes."

Update 8:55am

7News will be streaming the media update here.

Update 8:25am

While we await the official media briefing at 9am it should be noted that growth potential for the High Park Fire remains high. Today's forecast is expected to be cooler, however there are still forecasted winds out of the northwest at 15-20 mph with gusts up to 40 mph.

Update 8:09am

The Larimer Sheriff has added a second citizen's briefing at 10:45am. The first briefing remains at Cache La Poudre Middle School in Laporte at 9:45am. The second briefing will be at The Ranch at 10:45am. Sheriff Smith & PFA Chief DeMint speaking.

Update 7:51am

This was just sent in from KUNC Staff Member Dave Dennis. He lives in west Fort Collins.

"Looking west from west Fort Collins. Our normally beautiful mountain view is obscured by the smoke from the High Park Fire, now ~9000 acres. 1074 evacuations so far - Poudre Canyon and Rist Canyon and the Stove Prairie area from Masonville to Poudre Canyon have now been completely evacuated. It's smoky as heck, even inside our house, and there's ash all over everything on the porch and floating in our dog's kiddy pool from the front that blew in overnight."

 

Update 7:13am

After the initial evacuation orders given this morning, additional official information has been sparse. There is a media update at 9am, we expect to find out more then, including a confirmation on the current size of the fire. According the the Larimer Sheriff on Twitter, there will be a citizen's briefing this morning as well.

 

Update 6:41am

While we await official confirmation of the size of the fire, we can say that the total structures lost or damaged by the fire is now 18. The previous confirmed number was 10. Other structures continue to be threatened and no details are available. This includes our transmitter site at Buckhorn Mtn., of which we do not have an update on at this time.

It does appear that the fire has grown significantly overnight, given that evacuations were ordered last night for Poudre Park (along Highway 14) area from mile marker 111 to mile marker 118 (Kings Canyon/Boyd Gulch area) and additional evacuations were called for this morning for the area just west of Bellvue.

Update 6:26am via Matt Flener on Twitter

Matt Flener of 9News is reporting this morning that the fire has grown to 10,000+ acres. We are awaiting confirmation of this information via official channels.

 

--

New this morning is additional evacuations have been ordered:

Additional evacuations as of approximately 5 a.m. Sunday include all residents from County Road 27E to Bellvue and for the area south and west of Bellvue, including Lory State Park and Red Stone Canyon, and Buckhorn Road from Masonville up to Stove Prairie School.

Another evacuation center has been opened at the McKee Building at the Ranch (I-25 and Crossoads next to the Budweiser Events Center).