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Friday, June 15, 2012

CO-ARF-HIGH PARK: Wildfire 52,068 acres, 15%

High Park Fire #CoFire #HighParkFire OFFICIAL Update: High Park Fire is currently at 52,000+ acres with 15% containment, One firefighter was taken non-emergent by ambulance out of the area for heat exhaustion yesterday. There have been no other injuries reported at this time.

Colorado: High Park Fire Header 6-14-12
Credit: USFS

High Park Fire Perimeter Map(40 36 15N, 105 22 23W) 

The High Park Fire is located approximately 15 miles west of Fort Collins and has burned 52,068 acres to date and is and estimated 15 percent contained. Additional firefighters have arrived with more than 1,387 personnel working on the fire with a 24-hour schedule with night shifts and day shifts. Today's weather calls for winds out of SE with 20-30 mph winds until 11 a.m. Crews will be watching for building thunderstorms in the afternoon with winds developing out of the NE as storms move east over the plains.Steep terrain, limited access, and the presence of dense stands of beetle killed trees to the west of the fire area are of concern to fire officials.

A comprehensive plan has been created to manage this portion of the fire. The plan addresses how to suppress the fire while providing for firefighter and public safety. Several tactics will be used including the use of aerial ignition where appropriate, burn out operations to safely bring the fire down to the road to protect structures, and the use of specialized equipment to create defensible space near homes. Three feller bunchers have been ordered and should arrive today. This equipment can rapidly cut and gather trees, removing fuels from the line.

Firefighters are working to contain a spot fire that is less than 100 acres on the north side of Poudre Canyon near Steven's Gulch. The fire is located in steep terrain and timber and difficult to access by ground. Controlling this spot fire will be top priority for air support today. A plan was in place in case this happened and engines and hand crews have been moved off the line to help with structure protection in the Glacier View area.

Late yesterday afternoon, a thunderstorm cell parked over the southwest corner of the fire. Downdrafts from the storm caused an increase in fire activity on the west side, which launched embers into the wind, causing the spot fire on the north side of the Poudre River. Due to the large number of personnel assigned to the fire, incident command was able to put strong resources toward fighting the spot fire while continuing to focus on the top priority, which is holding the anchor points and lines already established.

On the remaining fire perimeter, resources will continue to build containment line on the north and south flanks of the fire. On the east side where containmnet lines are already in place, crews will continue to "mop up" hotspots and strengthen the line where necessary. Structure protection will continue within the perimeter of the fire.

Evacuations: .
Evacuation center has been moved from Cache La Poudre Middle School in Laporte to the Ranch at I-25 and Crossroads Boulevard. This move was done because of the increasing smoke in the Laporte area.

Larimer County will open the High Park Fire Disaster Recovery Center at 7 a.m. Friday, June 15, at Johnson Hall on the Colorado State University Campus. The center will be open Mon.-Fri. from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sat.-Sun. from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The center will likely remain open for 3-4 weeks. More information about the Disaster Recovery Center at

Approximately 3,000 notifications (contacts, not residents) have been sent for evacuations on this fire. As of Thursday afternoon, 1,187 notifications (contacts, not residents) have been sent notifying residences that they can return home.

Current evacuations include:
  • South of CR38E to Gindler Ranch Road west to Milner Ranch Road.
  • North of County Road 38E, from Horsetooth Reservoir to Redstone Canyon to Lory State park.
  • Bonner Peaks subdivision.
  • County Road 44H (Buckhorn Road) from County Road 27 to Pennock Pass and residents to the south approximately 3/4-1 mile, you will need to exit the area by going east on County Road 44H/Buckhorn Road.
  • CR27E to Bellvue.
  • Areas south and west of Bellvue to include the Lory State Park area, the Redstone Canyon area and Buckhorn Road up to the Stove Prairie School.
  • Poudre Canyon from MM111 to MM118 on Highway 14. This means Poudre Canyon from Stove Prairie to MM118 is under mandatory evacuations.
  • The area between CR27E and Stove Prairie Road and south through the entire Rist Canyon area including Davis Ranch Road, Whale Rock Road. South on CR44H 3 miles to just north of Stringtown Gulch Road
  • Paradise Park Road, Moose Horn Lane, Magic Lane and Spencer Mountain Road.
  • Old Flowers Road from Stove Prairie Road to the 8000-block of Old Flowers Road.
  • Stove Prairie Road north along County Road 27 to Highway 14, east along Highway 14 to approximately mile marker 111, southeast to Rist Canyon Fire Station 1, then back west to to include Wilderness Ridge Way, Rist Creek Road, Spring Valley Road and County Road 41 and all of the roads that run off of it.
  • The Ranch at I-25 & Crossroads Boulevard is the evacuation center. Large animals may be taken to the Ranch at I-25 & Crossroads Blvd. There is still plenty of room for animals at the Ranch. Small animals may be taken to Larimer Humane Society.
Structures damaged:
18 structures (a mix of homes and outbuildings) have been confirmed damaged at this time. We know this number will increase once crews get their surveys done.

Public Info: Citizen briefings tomorrow at the Ranch at 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

 At the 3 p.m. citizens briefing Friday, residents will be notified of damaged and destroyed homes in the following areas: Old Flowers Road, Whale Rock, Tip Top, Rist Creek, Spring Valley and Paradise Park. Residents of these neighborhoods will be pulled aside following a general briefing.
Residents who cannot attend these meetings can obtain information regarding the status of their property by calling 970-619-4086. Phones will be staffed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week and messages can be left after hours. Only three lines will be active, so please do not call for information before it has been announced. That information for your neighborhood is being released at that day's citizens meeting and please do not call prior to the 3 p.m. meeting as information will not be available.

Media briefings: at 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
 First briefing will be at Watson Lake Wildlife Area in Bellvue.
Media briefings at the staging area located Watson Lake State Wildlife Area in Bellvue. (From LaPorte, go 1 mile west on County Road 54G (the main road through town) to County Road 52E (Rist Canyon Road), then 1 mile west (left) to the property entrance on the west side of the river.) The next media briefing is at 8 p.m. Friday's media briefings are planned for 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
Friday's citizen briefing is 3 p.m. at the evacuation center at The Ranch.

Road closures include:
  • Highway 287 from the Bypass at CR54G to Owl Canyon Road
  • Highway 14 from Ted's Place to Stove Prairie Road
  • Highway 14 east of CR69
  • CR23 & Lodge Pole/Lory State Park
  • CR25E & CR54E
  • CR27 (Stove Prairie Road) south from Highway 14
  • CR27 (Stove Prairie Road) one mile south of CR44H (Buckhorn Road)
  • CR27 & CR38E
  • CR27 north of CR44H
  • CR38E and CR25E
  • CR44H (Buckhorn Road) west of CR27
  • CR52E (Rist Canyon Road) west of CR27E
  • CR52E (Rist Canyon Road) CR25E Bellvue
  • CR69 & Highway 14
Recreation Area Closures: 
  • Campground Closures: Ansel Watrous, Stove Prairie, Upper and Lower Narrows, Mountain Park, Dutch George, Kelly Flats, Tom Bennett, Jack Gulch and Horsetooth Reservoir Campground
  • Picnic Area Closures: Ouzel, Diamond Rock, Poudre Park, Stevens Gulch, Century Park, Fish Creek, Upper Landing and Bennett Creek
  • Hiking Trail Closures: Young Gulch, Mt. McConnell Trail, Kruetzer Nature Trail, Grayrock Trail and Grayrock Meadows Trail, Hewlett Gulch Trail, Fish Creek Trail, Stony Peak Trail, Emmaline Trail, Beaver Creek Trail and Donner Pass Trail.
  • Other Closure Areas: Eagles Nest Open Space, Horsetooth Mountain Open Space, Horsetooth Mountain Park and Lory State Park.
  • Highway 14 (Poudre Canyon) is closed from Ted's Place to Walden.

Current Situation

Total Personnel1,387
Size52,068 acres
Percent Contained15%
Fuels Involved
10 Timber (litter and understory) Grass, Brush and Timber
Fire Behavior
Aggressive backing and flanking fire in grass, brush and timber fuels. Crown runs with short range spotting noted on the south, west and northwest corner of the fire. Fire behavior on the western section of the fire moderated by brief rain shower.
Significant Events
Continued evacuations of 600+ residences; Road closures are still in effect; Local residents have been allowed to return on a stand-by basis to some subdivisions on the east side of the fire; Spot fire north.


Planned Actions
Actions planned for next operational period: Extensive structure (point) protection occurring within and around the burn area; Continue with phased burnout operations on the N edge and NW corner of the fire; Continue direct and indirect line construction from anchor points; Continue to assist with evacuations; Triage and assess structures within and outside the burned area; and continue control and mop-up on the eastern edge of the fire.
Growth Potential
Terrain Difficulty
Significant community and general media interest; Colorado Army National Guard and Colorado Air National Guard assisting with road closures and also providing fireline personnel, heavy engines and equipment; Damage assessment teams are validating and identifying damaged and destroyed structures. Secretary of Interior Salazar visited the fire on 6/14/2012. A state-wide ban on opening burning was issued by the Governor today. Substantial increase in total costs to date due to use of actual expenses versus previoiusly used estimates.

One firefighter was taken non-emergent by ambulance out of the area for heat exhaustion yesterday. There have been no other injuries reported at this time.

Resources on scene:
250 ground and engine crews are fighting the fire. There are 15 engines on scene.
5 SEATS (Single Engine Air Tankers)
2 type 3 helos
2 type 1 helos
Air Attack control plane
Lead plane
3 heavy air tankers
Everything being run out JeffCo Air Attack Base in Broomfield:
126Z (Aerial Recon)
N531SA, N6619V, N93ME, N101AA (Air Attack)
T-145, T-142, T-44, T-06, T-48
N64GT, N513BT, Bird Dog 134 (Lead Planes)
T-858, T845, T-847, T-883, T-882 (SEATs)

List of helos working out of the helibase located at Christman Field (out near the CSU stadium on the west side of Ft Collins):
HT-718, HT-737, HT-732, HT-795
N210MA, N212KA, N935CH (Type 2 helos)
N173BH, N402AH, N215LA, N988B (Type 3 helos)

Guard 42 and Guard 29 are running out of the Fort Collins/Loveland airport.
We continue to compete for resources with other fires.
The Colorado National Guard is providing two Blackhawk helicopters for use tomorrow either for transport or bucket drops depending on the need.

Cause of fire:
Lightning is suspected to be the cause of the fire. Investigation still continues.

Winds played a major role in the fire again today as they once again shifted and drove the fire north. Winds were 15 to 20 mph most of the day with gusts up to 40-45 mph. Winds should be lighter tonight and tomorrow which will hopefully help efforts to start some containment.

More Fire Information:
Phone: 970-498-5500
Public information is available at the Larimer County Emergency Information line at 970-498-5500 (PIO) Hours: 7 a.m.- 10 p.m
Inciweb at
Residents can sign up to receive emergency notifications on cell phones or email at
Red Cross Safe and Well Registration
Incident: High Park Fire
If you have been evacuated or are looking for someone who has been evacuated, you can register or check the registry at Red Cross Safe and Well. Register as "other" for the incident type. 211 can assist folks if needed (just dial 211 from your phone).

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****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.
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