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High Park Fire's Unusual Behavior Makes Containment Difficult

 Photo taken on June 11th, 2012
Dave Dennis

The High Park Fire has scorched more than 43,443 and is only 5% percent contained. Fire mangers say part of the difficulty in fighting the fire is because the fire itself isn’t behaving in a typical fashion.

Chad Hoffman is an assistant professor of fire science at Colorado State University. He says the fact that the blaze has been burning downhill and into the wind which is very unusual.

“It definitely creates a lot of problems from a suppression standpoint. Normally we can use ridge lines and other topographic features or weather conditions to help us gain some traction on suppressing the fire and containing it. But when we see fire behavior like this it increases our safety concern.”

The High Park Fire has also engulfed many trees that have been damaged or destroyed by the bark beetle. Hoffman says these trees are extremely flammable and are only helping to strengthen the blaze.

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