8:25am

Wed June 13, 2012
Wildfires

High Park Fire: Day 5 Updates

Editor's NoteThe High Park Fire started on Saturday, June 9th. Winds and high temperatures helped the fire rapidly spread. The blaze has grown from an initial 8,000 acres by the end of Saturday to an announced 46,820 acres by the end of Wednesday. You can review our timeline of the fire in the High Park Fire archive.

This post archives all updates from Wednesday, June 13th. Updates for Thursday, June 14th can be found at this post.

Update 7:50pm

The Larimer Sheriff has announced that the High Park Fire is now 46,820 acres.

Update 4:10pm

The Colorado Division of Emergency Management has posted the Executive Order Declaring A Disaster Emergency for the High Park Fire.

Update 3:56pm

At the final media briefing of the afternoon, Larimer County Sheriff Executive Officer Nick Christensen revealed the reason for the pre-evacuation notice to Glacier View. It remains a pre-evacuation notice, but they wanted the residents in the area to be prepared. Officials are considering a burnout operation on the northwest corner of the fire to deal with some of the beetle kill in the area and deny it as a fuel source for the High Park Fire.

The burnout operation will cause a lot of black smoke and they wanted people in the area to be prepared in any event.

Fire officials were quick to note at the beginning of the briefing today that "the situation has calmed". Progress was made today on the east side of the fire, the edge near Fort Collins, and on the north side near Poudre Canyon. The north side of the fire was an area of concern this morning and they had been monitoring it 'aggressively' in order to tamp out any spot fires.

Another bit of good news was that fire officials now have enough personnel on site in order to move to continuous 24 hour a day operations. With more than 1000 firefighters and 100 engines they can move to initiate night operations. Officials continue to praise the effectiveness of air resources.

Some possible evacuations to be lifted tomorrow include Bonner Peaks and Missile Silo Road. Those are under consideration, however fire watchers are not comfortable that it is entirely safe in the High Park Fire.

Update 3:29pm

The final media briefing of the day is starting soon. You can stream it here via 7News.

Update 3:14pm

There has been an outpouring of support form the community to help those who have been displaced by the High Park Fire. We've compiled a list of contacts and information for charity and volunteer organizations.

Update 2:42pm

Here's a picture of the Mishawaka posted to Twitter yesterday showing no damage from the fire:

 

Update 2:32pm

The Mishawaka Amphitheater, located up Hwy 14 and the Poudre Canyon is okay. It hasn't been damaged by the fire at all, but there isn't any access to the Mish as Hwy 14 is closed between Ted's Place and Walden.

The Mishawaka has issued a press release cancelling events through June 22nd. You can read the press release here.

Conditions permitting they hope to re-open on June 29th.

As another note, all ticket purchases and shuttle reservations will be automatically refunded for cancelled events.

Update 1:28pm

The Larimer Sheriff has issued a pre-evacuation alert to the Glacier View area.

From the Larimer Sheriff:

The High Park Fire officials are issuing a pre-evacuation alert to residents in the Glacier View area to include the following: from the County Road 68C junction with County Rd 74E, east to the Hewlett Gulch Road and all roadways in that housing district, south to the north side of Hwy 14 and west to the junction with County Road 68C.

Update 1:17pm

Our engineering assessment team was able to make it up to Buckhorn Mtn. yesterday. While the site remains without power, there seemed to be minimal damage. We have no timeline on when service will be restored to Buckhorn.

They also brought back these incredible pictures from within the fire zone.

Update 12:43pm Via Reporter Kirk Siegler:

Crews battling an out of control wildfire in northern Colorado are up against more hot weather and gusty winds today. The High Park Fire has now scorched 72 square miles of tinder dry forests.

1000 firefighters are battling this blaze, which is now one of the top priorities in the country.

In the skies, there’s been a steady parade of choppers and planes dropping water and fire retardant on the blaze.   Incident commander Bill Hahnenberg set two goals this morning in the briefing:

"We’re trying to do two things, set priorities to protect structures and at the same time construct fire line so this thing does not continue to grow."

The fire has destroyed scores of homes and Hahnenberg says it’s still too dangerous for firefighters to even protect structures in some areas. Hahnenberg was emphatic this morning on that point.

"We're not going to put firefighters at risk. We're just not."

Update 11:56am

Here's the official release from the Larimer Sheriff on the lifted evacuations:

Residents in the Shoreline Drive area and the Bellvue area from County Road 27E to the east will be allowed back into their homes later today after the citizen briefing.

Residents will need to provide identification with proof of address in order to receive credentials allowing them into the area. The credentials will be available after the citizen briefing at 3:00 p.m at the Ranch. Residents not able to attend the briefing may pick up their credentials later at the evacuation center. Credentials will be REQUIRED to enter these areas.

Officials are evaluating the Bonner Peak and Bonner Springs Ranch area and anticipate that residents will be allowed to return tomorrow. More information will be available tomorrow.

Update 11:19am via the Larimer Sheriff on Twitter

 

Update 10:28am

More information is available on the expected lifting of some small evacuation areas today. None have been lifted yet and none are expected until after the 3pm citizen's briefing today.

Officials are urging residents to attend the briefing at 3pm which will be at the Ranch. When evacuations are lifted only credentialed residents will be allowed in those areas. Evacuated residents must provide identification to obtain credentials at the evacuation center.

Officials are stating that credentials are available only at the evacuation center and that residents should not show up at road blocks expecting to enter the area. It should be noted that now roadblocks are staffed by the Colorado National Guard:

At that citizen's meeting, the Larimer Sheriff and Type 1 team officials will also brief residents on the structure assessment process.

Update 10:12am

An interesting fact and a testament to how effective air support has been to the High Park Fire via Steve Segin on Twitter:

 

Update 10:01am

Here is the list of fire fighting resources available today from the media briefing:

  • 100 Engines
  • 34 Crews (20+ person each)
  • 5 Heavy Air Tankers
  • 5 SEATS (Single Engine Air Tanker)
  • 14 Helicopters

Incident Commander Bill Hahnenberg stated at the briefing that once the inversion lifted yesterday that air support flew nearly non-stop and that those resources made a significant difference.

Larimer County Sheriff Executive Officer Nick Christensen also spoke at the briefing saying they are evaluating  lifting a few evacuations today, but no details are set yet. The goal is more information by later this afternoon but that the likely targets are Shoreline Drive and the Bellvue area. Again, no evacuations have been lifted, they are simply evaluating it. We'll have more information as it released on evacuations.

Update 9:23am

9News will be streaming the media briefing live at 9:30am.

Update 9:05am

Larimer County released an updated IR perimeter map [pdf] late last night.

Update 8:48am

From the InciWeb incident page on the High Park Fire:

More than 1,000 personnel are working on the fire as of Wednesday. In addition, some 50 National Guard members have been called in to assist with roadblocks.

Update 8:37am

With the fire at 46,600 acres now and at 10% authorities are moving on to continued containment efforts. The Larimer Sheriff has announced that they are going to concentrate on starting a structure and evacuation area assessment today. The citizen's meeting will be at 3:00pm today at the Ranch where they intend to deliver information on this assessment. It is important to note that there will not be a complete list of damaged structures available today.

Update 7:59am via the Larimer Sheriff on Twitter

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A few evacuees in the South Horsetooth area were allowed to return home yesterday. That initial burst of reliefe quickly turned though as fire managers ordered a new mandatory evacuations in Pingree Park.as well as more pre-evacuation alerts in other areas.

Larimer County officials say it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact number of people affected by the fire because some of the residences are cabins or second homes.

While firefighters continue to try and save structures in Poudre Canyon, Nick Christenson with the Larimer County Sheriff’s office says some people are refusing to leave -- and that’s creating problems for officers.

This was mentioned yesterday in our live blog from a report by Kirk Siegler:

In one case, he says, a homeowner lit their own back burn around their property which posed huge safety problems. Says Christensen:

"They are expected to leave, if they refuse we move on and they’re able to stay but that creates a risky situation for themselves and the responders both."

No citations have been issued. Larimer County officials estimate a couple thousand people have been displaced by this fire...

Yesterday, Governor John Hickenlooper formally signed a disaster declaration allocating $20 million dollars to the state’s Disaster Emergency Fund to pay for firefighting efforts related to the High Park Fire.

In addition to the declaration, President Obama called Governor Hickenlooper and assured him that the Federal Government is ready to provide support. That wave of support has helped meet the challenge of the High Park Fire and led to yesterday's progress.

Editor's NoteThe High Park Fire started on Saturday, June 9th . Winds and high temperatures helped the fire rapidly spread. The blaze has grown from an initial 8,000 acres by the end of Saturday to an announced 41,140 acres by the end of Monday. Our day 1 updates are archived here and our day 2 updates are archived here. Updates from Monday, day 3 of the fire, are here. Yesterday's live blog of events can be found here.