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High Park fire update: 85 percent containment, many subdivisions reopened

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Update, 5:47 a.m. June 12: The High Park Fire has claimed its first casualty: Linda Steadman, 62. As noted by the Larimer County Sheriff's Office, the " mother, grandmother, sister and wife perished in the cabin she loved."

This eloquent line puts a human dimension on a blaze that doubled in size yesterday and continues to grow. Here's the latest at this writing.

According to the latest U.S. Forest Service update, shared on the fire's InciWeb page, approximately 41,400 acres have been consumed since the conflagration sparked to life early Saturday morning due to lightning that struck the dry fuel spread over the area. That's an enormous increase; recall that yesterday morning at this time, the size of the fire was estimated at 20,000 acres.

The number of firefighters trying to contain the fire, raging out of control about fifteen miles from Fort Collins, was approximately 400 by day's end. That total is expected to increase to between 500 and 600 today -- an indication of how much of a national priority this disaster has become. The number of structures incinerated remains officially undetermined, and while the sheriff's office has suggested that the sum could already exceed one hundred, its latest release includes this caveat: "There are many unburned areas within the perimeter of the fire, so residents should not assume their homes are damaged or destroyed."

Today presents a good news-bad news scenario. On the positive side, the fire "looked better" last night than the night before, the sheriff's office maintains. But yesterday's cooler weather, which provided at least a minor assist to firefighters, is expected to be supplanted by warmer, drier conditions marked by wind gusts of up to eighteen miles per hour.

Here are some of the latest user-generated videos from the scene, followed by our previous coverage.

Page down to read our previous coverage.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts

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