What we know: Another day of ‘extreme’ Cameron Peak Fire activity as cold front approaches


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Evening Update: Cameron Peak Fire planning operations trainee Troy Mueller shared a brief update on Saturday night, and he said the fire is still burning on the north side of the CSU Mountain Campus. The area is currently responsible for some of the heaviest smoke bands from the blaze, though the fire remains west of Pingree Park

Mueller said many crews and resources are currently staged in that area and near Monument Gulch to shore up fire lines and prevent structure damage. Firefighters continue to use air tankers to drop retardant and water to targeted spots near the CSU Mountain Campus.

Another area of heavy activity Saturday was west of Joe Wright Reservoir, where a warm day combined with dried-out vegetation and fueled a small growth of the fire not far from the Continental Divide. Mueller said the blaze there is putting out a lot of smoke, but the Cameron Peak Fire team expects the incoming westerly winds to blow this portion back onto the existing fire.

Afternoon Update: The Larimer County Sheriff’s office sent out an alert downgrading evacuation notices from mandatory to voluntary for the following areas: Crystal Lakes, Red Feather Lakes, Lady Moon and Red Feather Highlands.

The alert also reads: “Voluntary evacuations will remain in place for those areas until further notice. Please be sure to have proper identification to show residency in those areas, as only residents will be allowed to enter. We ask that you use caution when driving through the area, as emergency crews are still present. To view a map of these changes, please visit nocoalert.org.”


After Friday saw the Cameron Peak fire spread to the Colorado State University Mountain Campus and force another wave of evacuations, the fire sits at 133,884 acres with 44% containment as of a Saturday morning update from the Northwest Incident Management Team 6.

Extreme fire behavior is expected near the CSU Mountain Campus and Pingree Park area throughout Saturday after it burned heavy through the area Friday.

Crews spent Friday and early Saturday dropping water and retardant over the fire in that area as the blaze burns through dense beetle kill and steep terrain in mountainous terrain west of Fort Collins.

“The firing operations that they did (Friday) were successful in backing the fire away from the CSU campus and we’re trying to herd that fire around any of those (structures) at risk if it still wants to try to push east,” said planning operations trainee Troy Mueller in a Saturday morning update.

According to the morning update, additional surge crews arrived Friday afternoon and are being deployed heavily near the Mountain Campus on Saturday to assist with point protection.

The fire burned east from the Comanche Peak Wilderness toward the Mountain Campus on Friday, so Mueller said crews are mopping up hot spots back west near the Comanche Peak Wilderness and Long Draw Road.

While a cold front is expected to move through overnight Saturday, it will bring in heavy winds that could complicate firefighting operations, which Mueller called a “a major concern.” He said winds on Sunday and Monday could hit 70 miles per hour on the ridge tops and 50 miles per hour on the valley floors, and it will be coming from a direction that could spur the fire to move farther east.

While containment remains strong along the southeast perimeter, where the fire ran into the old High Park Fire burn scar, Mueller said crews have started identifying possible areas and structures at risk heading east along Buckhorn Road.

Firefighters are also spending Saturday focusing on the north perimeter, where they will mop up and secure fire lines to increase containment and protect the areas at risk near Red Feather Lakes.

Farther to the west, Mueller said crews are making progress on the northwest side of the fire, which includes areas near Kinikinik and Laramie River Road.

“They’re finding less and less heat every day and they’re working further in from the fire perimeter every day, so we’re really confident about the containment they’re starting to achieve,” he said.

Crews are also monitoring the southern area of the fire over Rocky Mountain National Park by air, as Mueller said they’ve currently taken ground resources elsewhere.

MAP:Track smoke and fire across the West

Saturday will be a slightly cooler day up the Poudre Canyon, with highs hovering just below 70 degrees and 15-20% humidity. Winds will increase as the day goes, gusting over 20 miles per hour in the afternoon ahead of the cold front.

While the impending cold front front will bring stronger winds, it is expected to drop high temperatures into the 50s in the area of the fire.

This is a developing story. Check Coloradoan.com for the latest updates.

Chris Abshire is the sports and stats content coach at the Coloradoan. Contact him at ChrisAbshire@coloradoan.com. Support his work and that of other Coloradoan journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.