The High Park Fire has proven to be stubborn, with winds fanning growth and containment of the fire dropping last night from 60% to 45%. 75,537 acres have been blackened since June 9th.
Editor's Note: The High Park Fire started on Saturday, June 9th. Winds and high temperatures helped the fire rapidly spread. There have been many developments with what has become one of the largest wildfires in Colorado history. You can review our timeline of the fire in the High Park Fire archive. This post archives all of the updates for day 15 of the fire, which also saw an unrelated fire break out nearby in Estes Park. Sunday's update on the High Park can be found here.
Update 7:59pm via the Canyon Lakes Ranger District on Twitter
#HighParkFire Total of 2.2 million gallons of water dropped on this 81,190 acre fire to date.
— Canyon Lakes RD (@usfsclrd) June 24, 2012
Fire officials have announced that the High Park Fire has grown to 81,190 acres. Containment remains at 45%.
The following link goes to an animated gif transposing a satellite shot of the High Park Fire with a false-color image from the MODIS satellite. The false-color really highlights the burn zone of the High Park for a sense of scale.
High Park Fire in CO: still producing a large smoke plume, and the burn scar as seen on the false-color image is huge! go.wisc.edu/v1wy2a
— Scott Bachmeier (@CIMSS_Satellite) June 24, 2012
The Coloradoan has posted a slideshow of pictures taken from the air of the Glacier View area.
From the media briefing:
Larry Helmerick, a Public Information Officer with the Type 1 Management team spoke their difficulty with the fire and the unpredictability of it. “It’s just not cooperating right now.”
Yesterday, the fire activity was in the Glacier View area, where some structures were lost. Early reports have the number at 10, officials have not been able to confirm any numbers as of yet. They did say that the structures are both houses and out buildings. No new structures were lost today.
Officials also spoke the new fires burning across Colorado, specifically the Estes Park fire – which is now being called the Woodland Heights Fire. Resources were diverted form the High Park to fight the fire. The Estes Park fire is only 20 Acres and in the middle of a ‘bunch of homes’. Air resources were moved to Estes, 4 Helicopters by Helmerick’s recollection. He said he’s “Not sure it is a terrible drain”.
Most of today’s smoke is coming from the southern flank of the fire, in the north were yesterday’s activity was, they are hoping to use the Hewlett Fire burn zone to box the fire in and contain it.
There will be a media briefing at 4pm this afternoon. You can stream it live via 9News.
The Weber fire was mentioned in an earlier update near Mancos, CO. The Coutez Journal is now reporting new evacuation orders and that the fire is now 2,500 acres.
According to this tweet from the Colorado Division of Emergency Management, there are 5 fires currently burning.
— CO - Emergency Mgmt (@COEmergency) June 23, 2012
There is another fire burning in Northern Colorado, this time in Estes Park. It is near the Beaver Meadows entrance to RMNP. We have coverage updating to this post.
Due to hot, dry and windy conditions the fire spotted yesterday north of Highway 14 near Sheep Mountain. The presence of fuels allowed the fire to establish and push to the northeast, which you can see in the daily progression map [.pdf].
Existing roads and available resources called in to deal with the growth allowed crews to cut fire line on the north which tied to the Hewlett Fire burn scare to the east. Efforts today will focus on strengthening this line.
With air resources already airborne to assist ground forces, structure protection will work on the unburned areas in the interior and extinguish any hotspots. Along the edges, officials will look to build firelines on the west and southeast.
As mentioned earlier, there are a reported 10 structures lost or damaged in the 12th filling of Glacier View, this has not been confirmed yet. In the area north of the Poudre the resources on site include 6 hotshot crews, approximately 40 engines, 3-4 heavy tankers and 5 heavy heli-tankers, plus 5 bulldozers.
The red flag warning continues till 8pm today. There are two more fires burning in Colorado today that may affect available resources for the High Park. The Coloradoan is reporting on Twitter that one of the air tankers has been diverted from the High Park and is heading to Estes Park to fight a fire that has burned 3 buildings and is spreading to adjacent wild lands. The Estes Park fire has been labeled a Type 3 incident. The other fire is the Weber fire near Mancos, CO. The Courtez Journal is estimating that fire at 800 acres and air support has been called in to help fight that fire as well.
During the morning briefing today, fire officials had announced that they hoped to have electricity in Poudre Park restored today at noon. The Larimer Sheriff has just announced that "Due to operations in the Poudre Canyon today, the power will not be restored at noon as previously announced."
The Larimer County Emergency information blog updated this morning with the information that the High Park Fire is now estimated at costing $25.5 million. The Larimer Sheriff also has the most up-to-date listings of road closures due to the fire.
From the Larimer County Emergency Update this morning:
"Yesterday afternoon the fire spotted across Highway 14 near Sheep Mountain in steep, rugged terrain. With hot, dry conditions and wind gusts to 35 mph, the spots became established in dry fuels and made an aggressive push to the northeast. Structure protection resources activated sprinklers before being forced to move back to a safe area due to fire intensity. All available resources were shifted to the area north of Poudre Canyon to assist with fire suppression efforts. Last night, with the assistance of heavy equipment and existing roads, crews were able to line the fire area on the north tying it into the Hewlett Fire on the east. Today crews will work to strengthen this north line while also securing the east and south sides of the fire area north of Highway 14."
Last night's Heat IR permiter map [.pdf] is available, it was updated at 10:36pm. After yesterday's weather, the daily progression map [.pdf] will be more illustrative, showing the changing perimeter from 1:30am to 10:36pm last night.
Update 10:07am via Aaron Ontiveroz on Twitter
— AAron Ontiveroz (@aaronontiveroz) June 23, 2012
A pre-evacuation notice was issued at midnight for the Bonner Peak Subdivision, including Springs Ranch Rd. Three separate rounds of evacuation orders were sent yesterday, for a total of 998 notices.
There have been reports of 10 structures damaged in Glacier View, however this has NOT been confirmed. The confirmed number of structures lost of damaged due to the High Park remains at 191. The Larimer Sheriff is intending to head to Glacier View to confirm damage.
The weather forecast for today is calling for a high of 101°F and winds gusting up to 15mph. A hazardous weather outlook, including a red flag warning is in place for today. The hot temps will continue throughout the weekend.
From the morning briefing, Incident Commander Bill Hahnenberg said that there were 5 heavy air tankers & 18 helicopters available today. More importantly they have 5 bulldozers to cut fire lines, which will be helpful to the north of the fire where the terrain is more forgivable with the grassland rather than the forest.
"We've got some good tools both in the air on the ground."