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An aerial view of the Cameron Peak fire.
An aerial view of the Cameron Peak fire.

Cameron Peak Fire Explodes Prior to Storm

The storm now slamming into much of Colorado is providing a preview of winter after a scorching-hot Labor Day weekend. But residents of Larimer County aren't complaining about the plummeting temperatures. After all, the weather system is expected to provide important assistance to firefighters struggling to control the Cameron Peak fire, which exploded in recent days to nearly 100,000 acres, causing haze and poor air quality far beyond the Fort Collins area (including in Denver), and prompted a series of alerts and evacuations that remain in effect despite the precipitation.

As of August 20, our last update about wildfires ravaging Colorado, the Cameron Peak fire — which started on August 13 near Cameron Pass and Chambers Lake across land split between the Arapaho and Roosevelt national forests — had consumed 15,738 acres. It was large, but nowhere near the size of the Pine Gulch fire, located approximately eighteen miles north of Grand Junction in parts of Mesa and Garfield counties, which subsequently became the largest blaze in state history, surpassing 139,000 acres. At the time, though, the Cameron Peak blaze was 0 percent contained, and its growth since then has been stunning.

The latest update on the federal Inciweb system, at 9:09 p.m. on September 7, revealed that the Cameron Peak fire is now up to 96,462 acres, with just 4 percent containment. And to make matters even trickier, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has confirmed a COVID-19 outbreak among Cameron Peak fire crews as a result of four positive staff cases.

At present, 829 firefighters are assigned to the fire, and they've had a tough few days. The conflagration's most recent incidents are categorized as "extreme: crown runs, group torching, wind-driven runs, long- and short-range spotting. Flanking and wind-driven runs along the south rim of Poudre Canyon near the fish hatchery. Wind and slope-driven runs along the north side of Highway 14 near Boston Peak. Wind-driven runs in Monument Gulch, Pennock Pass and upper Fish Creek areas. The fire has burned into the 2012 High Park Fire footprint on West White Pine Mountain. Wind-driven runs in Cascade and Mummy Pass Creeks in Rocky Mountain National Park."

Current predictions for projected fire activity cite "moderating behavior" owing to the storm, which is expected to deliver between six and twelve inches of snow in the fire area. And that snow, the cool temps, and a generally unsettled weather pattern are expected to have a positive impact on the blaze for as much as 72 hours, prior to a slow warm-up over the weekend.

But plenty of damage has already been done. Here are nine updates from the Larimer County Sheriff's Office related to the Cameron Peak blaze issued yesterday, September 7, starting with the most recent:

The nighttime sky over the Cameron Peak fire.EXPAND
The nighttime sky over the Cameron Peak fire.

9/7/20 5:06 PM
This is the Larimer County Sheriff's Office with an emergency message. Cameron Peak fire officials have ordered mandatory evacuations for the Lady Moon and Red Feather Highlands areas in Red Feather for residents and business occupants due to immediate and imminent danger. Evacuate the area immediately and as quickly as possible. Do not delay leaving to gather belongings or make efforts to protect your home or business. Evacuating immediately not only supports your safety, but also allows emergency crews better access to the area. For updates, text the word LCEVAC to 888777 from your cell phone. We will communicate information to that key word as needed. Please do not call 9-1-1 unless you are in danger.

9/7/20 4:46 PM
This is the Larimer County Sheriff's Office with an emergency message. Cameron Peak fire officials have ordered mandatory evacuations for Red Feather and Crystal Lakes for residents and business occupants in the area due to immediate and imminent danger. This will also include the Manhattan Road and Shambhala Center areas. Evacuate the area immediately and as quickly as possible. Do not delay leaving to gather belongings or make efforts to protect your home or business. Evacuating immediately not only supports your safety, but also allows emergency crews better access to the area. For updates, text the word LCEVAC to 888777 from your cell phone. We will communicate information to that key word as needed. Please do not call 9-1-1 unless you are in danger. Thank you.

9/7/20 4:21 PM
This is the Larimer County Sheriff's Office with an emergency message. Cameron Peak fire officials have issued voluntary evacuations for the areas of the Glen Haven Retreat, the town of Glen Haven, and Storm Mountain. Voluntary evacuations are advised for residents and business occupants if they are concerned for their safety, feel they need additional time to exit the area, or have health conditions that may be aggravated by this incident. You are encouraged to move livestock and pets out of the area and to prepare for mandatory evacuations. For updates, text the word LCEVAC to 888777 from your cell phone. We will communicate information to that key word as needed. Please do not call 9-1-1 unless you are in danger. Thank you.

9/7/20 4:28 PM
This is the Larimer County Sheriff's Office with an emergency message. Cameron Peak fire officials have issued a voluntary evacuation for County Road 27 south of Big Bear Road to Masonville and north into the Buckskin Heights subdivision. Voluntary evacuations are advised for residents and business occupants if they are concerned for their safety, feel they need additional time to exit the area, or have health conditions that may be aggravated by this incident. You are encouraged to move livestock and pets out of the area and to prepare for mandatory evacuations. For updates, text the word LCEVAC to 888777 from your cell phone. We will communicate information to that key word as needed. Please do not call 9-1-1 unless you are in danger. Thank you.

9/7/20 3:07 PM
Here's the mandatory evac for Rist Canyon Rd: This is the Larimer County Sheriff's Office with an emergency message. Cameron Peak fire officials have ordered mandatory evacuations for all of County Road 52E (Rist Canyon Road) to include Davis Ranch Road, Whale Rock Road and west to County Road 27E for residents and business occupants due to immediate and imminent danger. Evacuate the area immediately and as quickly as possible. Do not delay leaving to gather belongings or make efforts to protect your home or business. Evacuating immediately not only supports your safety, but also allows emergency crews better access to the area. For updates, text the word LCEVAC to 888777 from your cell phone. We will communicate information to that key word as needed. Please do not call 9-1-1 unless you are in danger. Thank you.

9/7/20 2:58 PM
This is the Larimer County Sheriff's Office with an emergency message. Cameron Peak fire officials have ordered mandatory evacuations on Highway 14 from Stove Prairie Landing to Gateway Park for residents and business occupants in the area due to immediate and imminent danger. Evacuate the area immediately and as quickly as possible. Do not delay leaving to gather belongings or make efforts to protect your home or business. Evacuating immediately not only supports your safety, but also allows emergency crews better access to the area. For updates, text the word LCEVAC to 888777 from your cell phone. We will communicate information to that key word as needed. Please do not call 9-1-1 unless you are in danger. Thank you.

9/7/20 12:41 PM
This is the Larimer County Sheriff's Office with an emergency message. Cameron Peak fire officials have issued a voluntary evacuation along Highway 14 from Stove Prairie Landing to Gateway Park. Voluntary evacuations are advised for residents and business occupants if they are concerned for their safety, feel they need additional time to exit the area, or have health conditions that may be aggravated by this incident. You are encouraged to move livestock and pets out of the area and to prepare for mandatory evacuations. For updates, text the word LCEVAC to 888777 from your cell phone. We will communicate information to that key word as needed. Please do not call 9-1-1 unless you are in danger. Thank you.

9/7/20 11:44 AM
This is the Larimer County Sheriff's Office with an emergency message. Cameron Peak fire officials have issued a voluntary evacuation for all of County Road 52E (Rist Canyon Road) to include Davis Ranch Road, Whale Rock Road and west to County Road 27E. Voluntary evacuations are advised for residents and business occupants if they are concerned for their safety, feel they need additional time to exit the area, or have health conditions that may be aggravated by this incident. You are encouraged to move livestock and pets out of the area and to prepare for mandatory evacuations. For updates, text the word LCEVAC to 888777 from your cell phone. We will communicate information to that key word as needed. Please do not call 9-1-1 unless you are in danger. Thank you.

9/7/20 11:22 AM
This is the Larimer County Sheriff's Office with an emergency message. Cameron Peak fire officials have ordered mandatory evacuations from Stove Prairie Landing south on County Road 27 to County Road 44H and east to include Stratton Park for residents and business occupants in the area due to immediate and imminent danger. Evacuate the area immediately and as quickly as possible. Do not delay leaving to gather belongings or make efforts to protect your home or business. Evacuating immediately not only supports your safety, but also allows emergency crews better access to the area. For updates, text the word LCEVAC to 888777 from your cell phone. We will communicate information to that key word as needed. Please do not call 9-1-1 unless you are in danger. Thank you. Larimer Emergency Telephone Authority — LETA

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