Evening Update for High Park Fire - 6/28/12
Release Date: Jun 28, 2012
Public Information Officer
Larimer County Sheriff's Office
A great deal has changed in the past 36 hours, particularly with regard to progress on fire containment as well as roads and subdivisions being reopened.
The High Park Fire is estimated at 87,284 acres, meaning the fire has not grown for two days. Containment is now estimated at 85 percent. The estimated containment date has been moved up from July 15th to July 1st. The current cost of the fire to date is estimated at 36.4 million dollars. There are 1,125 personnel assigned to the firefighting effort. Equipment resources include: 3 Type 1 hand crews, 9 Type 2 hand crews, 79 engines, 9 dozers and 12 water tenders. Air Resources include; 3 Type I (heavy) helicopters, 4 Type III (light) helicopters, fixed wing support aircraft, and available heavy air tankers.
It should be noted that "containment" means that a containment line exists around the fire, which fire managers believe will hold the fire within the perimeter. "Control" means that the fire is actually out which, on a fire of this magnitude, typically requires an act of nature such as prolonged rain or snowfall. Islands of fire will continue to burn within the perimeter during the containment phase and residents should expect to see smoke for days, weeks, and even months as the fire moves from containment to control.
The fire continues to smolder and creep in steep, inaccessible areas with heavy beetle killed timber. Record low live fuel moistures with high temperatures, low relative humidity, and gusty thunderstorm winds continue to present a risk for escape. There have been several flashflood warnings within the area. Evacuation and re-entry to subdivisions pose continuing security and trespassing safety concerns. Portions of Colorado Highway 14 remain closed, impacting access to and use of popular recreation areas. The fire team has made many resources available for reassignment to other fires, but is keeping crews and equipment to sustain effective suppression work across the High Park Fire.
Line reinforcement, holding, mop-up and structure protection to maintain existing control efforts will continue. The remote sensing data will be used tactically to guide firefighters to remaining heat pockets around structures and within unburned islands in the interior of the burn area. Operations personnel continue to secure the southwest portion of the fire. Fire line rehabilitation continues on all divisions with resource advisors guidance. Spike camps are being closed over the next two days.
Several areas were reopened to residents today, which allowed the majority of the evacuees to return to their homes. The areas that were reopened were:
- Rist Canyon Road, including all connecting roads, including the following subdivisions;
- Pine Acres - Whale Rock
- Davis Ranch - Rist Creek
- Rist Canyon - Stratton Park
- Spring Valley - Tip Top Ranch
- Laurence Creek
- Paradise Park
- Stove Prairie Road from Buckhorn Road to Bent Timber Lane
- Old Flowers Road from Stove Prairie Road to the 8000 block
Special credentials are needed to enter the Rist Canyon and Paradise Park areas. Credentials may be obtained at the road checkpoints. Residents will need identification showing their local address, or identification and another document such as a utility bill or a tax statement establishing their connection to the property. Residents of Laurence Creek should be ready to show identification at checkpoints and roadblocks.
Traffic returning to the area is expected to be heavy. Residents who live south of Rist Canyon Road are urged to enter the area from the west using Stove Prairie Road.
Fire officials plan to allow residents to enter the 12th Filing of Glacier View at noon Friday. These residents will need special credentials, which can be picked up at the roadblock on Eiger Road.
All residents returning to their homes need to remain vigilant and consider themselves in a pre-evacuation status until otherwise notified.
The total number of homes destroyed to date remains at 257.
The weather is expected to be partly cloudy this evening with isolated thunderstorms until 10 p.m. Weather conditions will become slightly cooler, with possible thunderstorms late Tuesday afternoon that could produce gusty and erratic winds near 50 mph.
Resident Information (Meetings, Evacuation Notices and Evacuation Lift Notices):
Because so many evacuees now have access to their homes, no further citizen briefings are planned. Remaining evacuees are welcome to call the Fire Information line at (970) 498-5500. They may also obtain information at www.larimer.org/emergency
The next media briefing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on Friday, June 29, 2012. The 9 a.m. press conference with the National Guard has been cancelled. Briefings are held at the CSU Department of Atmospheric Science, located at 3915 W. Laporte Avenue in Fort Collins.
Road Closure Information:
Photo and Video Links:
Photos and video from the National Guard of the High Park Fire are available at the following sites:
Larimer County has opened the High Park Fire Disaster Recovery Center on the Colorado State University Campus at Johnson Hall. The center is open Mon-Fri from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Parking is free for victims on the south side of the administration building. For more information, please visit their website at http://www.safety.colostate.edu
Find out if your loved ones are safe here (Red Cross Safe and Well Registry):
For the latest updated map of the High Park Fire, check out this link:
Residents are reminded to receive emergency notifications on cell phones or email and should visit the website at www.leta911.org