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

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Update, 5:50 a.m. June 18: Today could be among the most challenging for crews battling the High Park Fire, which has raged for well over a week and remains a serious threat to life and property. A red flag warning for winds gusting to fifty miles per hour is in place, and the scorching temperatures forecast will only add to the hell-on-earth sensation felt by those on the ground -- not to mention the hundreds whose homes and properties have been destroyed. The numbers continue to stagger. According to the U.S. Forest Service InciWeb page devoted to the High Park fire, 56,480 acres of land west of Fort Collins has been consumed since the blaze was sparked by lightning a week ago Saturday. Containment is now listed at 45 percent, yet the Larimer County Sheriff's Office confirms that the fire still managed to race across another 1,000 acres of previously unburned land on the southest side of the zone, in the Laurence Creek Lane and Redstone area.

Meanwhile, evacuations continue. In anticipation of high winds today of the sort also experienced on Sunday, an evacuation order is in place for the Hewlett Gulch subdivision, with 96 notices going out. In addition, evacs have been delivered in the Soldier Canyon and Mill Canyon areas, with 331 households notified.

Meanwhile, the LCSO has come out with a new list of homes destroyed, and there are 181 addresses on it. The cost to fight the fire to date is now up to $12.6 million, and the money meter continues to click away steadily, what with an estimated 1,748 personnel engaged at this point, not to mention the deployment of enough helicopters and other gear to keep a battalion busy.

And then there's this line from the U.S. Forest Service's latest info release -- one disturbing in its implications: "Resistance to control is high."

Look below to see several new videos from folks in the area, plus the latest snaps shared by the Forest Service. Then page down to see our previous coverage.

Page down to see our previous coverage, including photos and videos.
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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