10:33am

Fri June 22, 2012
Wildfires

High Park Fire: New Evacuations Ordered, Containment Drops from 60% to 45% [Updated]

New evacuations were ordered Friday afternoon for the High Park Fire.

Updated 06/22/12 8:45 pm

Another 2,000 acres burned today north of the Poudre River in an area known as the narrows. Winds 20 to 25 mph with gusts up to 30 mph gave firefighters a difficult time. 6 hot shot crews couldn’t make progress in the area and fire officials had to pull back engines that have been staged in Glacier View. A lot of work has been done in Glacier View to prepare for such an event. Some structures were lost. There are no confirmed numbers at this time. Officials remain optimistic that the pretreatments will help prevent other losses. The fire is moving east and northeast which means it will run into Hewlett fire burn area. It’s also moving into an area of lighter fuel. 998 evacuation notices were issued today. Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith says they took out the remaining residents as a precautionary measure saying it was best to get them out to keep the roads clear for firefighters.

Updated 06/22/12 8:15 pm

Fire officials have issued evacuation orders for residents along County Road 74E from Hewlett Gulch Road east to County Road 37.  Residents should evacuate to Cache La Poudre Middle School in Laporte. The total number of emergency evacuation notices today is 998.

Updated 06/22/12 5:20 pm

Residents of Red Feather Lakes and Crystal Lakes need to use Cherokee Park Road (CR 80C) to access their residences as County Road 74E is closed at Mile Marker 9 from Hwy. 287 to the Boy Scout Ranch Road. 

Updated 06/22/12 3:25 pm

Additional emergency evacuations have been ordered to include all residents of filings 1 through 8 in Glacier View, homes north of County Rd 74E to include Green Mountain Dr., Mount Axtell Dr., Mount Moriah Rd., Mount Simon Dr. and all connecting roadways in that area. There has been an additional 612 emergency evacuation notifications sent for a total of 733.

Updated 06/22/12 2:17 pm

Due to increased winds that caused several spot fires, officials have ordered an immediate evacuation of the area of Hewlett Gulch Road, Deer Meadow Way, Gordon Creek Lane and all connecting roadways in that subdivision. In addition, for all residents on North Rim Road and the small roads running off of North Rim Road, to include Hidden Canyon Dr., Willow Mountain Ct., Elkhorn House Rd. and Deep Cut Rd. should evacuate to the Ranch on I-25 and Crossroads Blvd. There have been 121 emergency notifications sent for this evacuation.

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The High Park Fire is now 60% contained. Within the interior area of the fire, there remain numerous islands of unburned areas with residential homes. Bill Hahnenberg, Incident Commander, says firefighters are working diligently to make sure the fire does not creep into those islands as red flag conditions develop today.

“Anytime you have red flag weather conditions we’re concerned. These are a combination of high temperatures near 100 degrees, single digit humidity and winds. We’re really concerned by that. On the other hand, I will tell you, one thing we want to know is where the remaining heat is. And those conditions will let us determine that.”

Hahnenberg says weather conditions through Saturday will be difficult, with winds 15-25  mph and possible gusts up to 25 mph. He says that could be a problem,but crews are positioned to work aggressively to keep the fire from breaking containment lines.

Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith reports 191 homes have been burned, a small increase. As assessment teams get a better handle on the situation, Smith says that number will change.

According to Smith, there will be much more information available in the next 24 hours, as firefighters see if their contingency plans hold as red flag conditions develop.

There are no plans to lift any of the current evacuations for the next 3 days, because areas still remain at risk for spot fires and additional burning.

Smith noted Hahnenberg and his Type 1 federal team will be nearing their 14 day mission completion date. At that time, there will be another Type 1 team that takes over in the next couple of days with official hand off occurring Sunday evening.

Hahnenberg says firefighters have saved over 500 structures since the beginning of the blaze, and estimates there will be full containment of the High Park Fire around July 15th.