Editor’s note: We’re making this story free to read due to public safety concerns. But we rely on the support of subscribers to be able to do this work. Please help us by subscribing to the Coloradoan.
The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning Friday for the Cameron Peak Fire west of Fort Collins and Mullen Fire west of Laramie, Wyoming.
The warning runs from noon to 8 p.m. and included much of the central mountains of Colorado and southern Wyoming. Dry, windy conditions with northwest wind gusts exceeding 30 mph and relative humidity levels in the teens can contribute to rapid fire spread.
For the Cameron Peak Fire, that means a potential unfavorable push along recently gained containment lines in the Colorado Highway 14 corridor, Manhattan Road, Pingree Park Road and Comanche Reservoir area above the Colorado State University Mountain Campus.
However, the latest Cameron Peak Fire incident report said while the drier and warmer weather will temporarily encourage more active fire behavior, the gusty northwest winds from that direction have not recently been a contributor to large fire growth.
A Mullen Fire incident report Friday said the potential for fire spread Friday and Saturday is high with significant fire spread expected due to west-northwest wind gusting to 30 mph.
Those conditions could potentially push the fire farther into Colorado, north of Walden.
The Cameron Peak Fire grew slightly Thursday to 125,271 acres, according to the latest information available Friday afternoon. Containment grew to 34%. There were 879 firefighters along with 11 helicopters, one air attack, 15 crews of 20 each, 51 engines and a large supply of heavy equipment.
The Mullen Fire had grown to 127,503 acres with no reported containment by Friday afternoon. There were 1,057 people assigned to that fire.
Overall air quality will be improving throughout Friday, according to the smoke outlook report, though in the morning fine particulate concentrations will be evident, with the highest concentrations of smoke in the foothills and around Fort Collins, Loveland and Wellington. However, conditions are expected to improve as the day goes on.
Reporter Miles Blumhardt looks for stories that impact your life. Be it news, outdoors, sports — you name it, he wants to report it. Have a story idea? Contact him at email@example.com or on Twitter @MilesBlumhardt. Support his work and that of other Coloradoan journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.