Colorado wildfires: What to know Monday, September 14

Coffee Pot Road was reopened Saturday after being closed for several weeks due to the Grizzly Creek Fire. / Photo courtesy Grizzly Creek Fire Information

Coffee Pot Road was reopened Saturday after being closed for several weeks due to the Grizzly Creek Fire. / Photo courtesy Grizzly Creek Fire Information

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — We’re getting a clearer picture of the damage done by the Cameron Peak Fire in northern Colorado. Here’s what to know about that fire and others burning across the state.

Cameron Peak Fire

The Cameron Peak Fire in the mountains west of Fort Collins has burned 102,596 acres, making it the fifth-largest wildfire in Colorado history. It remains at 4% containment as of Monday morning.

The Larimer County Sheriff’s Office said at least 54 buildings, including 25 homes, have been destroyed in the fire.

Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park reopened Saturday. The road was closed first due to the fire, then due to snowdrifts several feet high.

With warm temperatures, low humidity and a sunny day Sunday, the snow continued to melt rapidly, and the fire activity became more noticeable. Aided by firefighters on the ground, helicopters with water drops were used to put out hot spots.

Conditions remained favorable, allowing firefighters to mop-up and construct direct firelines along Buckhorn Road to Comanche Reservoir, Pingree Park Road and Highway 14. Structure protection and indirect fireline construction occurred near the Crystal Lakes, Red Feather, and Glacier View subdivisions. Planning and structure assessments continued for Estes Park, Glen Haven and surrounding communities.

This strategy will continue for the next several weeks, as the fire perimeter is approximately 237 miles covering rough country with steep slopes, downed logs, trees and snags.

A total of 1,054 people are fighting the fire, which has been burning since August 13. There’s no word yet on the cause.

Middle Fork Fire

The Middle Fork Fire about 10 miles north of Steamboat Springs has burned 4,540 acres as of Sunday. No containment has been reported.

“Given the fire’s remote location, difficult terrain, hazardous conditions, and types of values at risk, in the context of a primary objective to protect public and firefighter safety, an indirect fire response strategy is being employed,” firefighters said in Sunday’s update. “Crews have completed structure assessments and are working on clearing down logs across roads and trails used to access the fire area. They are also preparing helicopter landing zones in case they are needed, and mitigating fuels around Rainbow Lake Campground.”

Firefighters said they expect the fire to burn “until a persistent seasonal change of weather arrives.”

A total of 95 people are fighting the fire. Investigators have determined it was caused by lightning.

Pine Gulch Fire

The Pine Gulch Fire burning north of Grand Junction remains at 95% containment as of the final update Friday afternoon.

The lightning-caused fire burned 139,007 acres, making it the largest wildfire in Colorado history. It started on July 31.

The Southern Area Red Team returned the management of the fire to local agencies Saturday morning.

Grizzly Creek Fire

The Grizzly Creek Fire near Glenwood Springs is holding steady at 32,431 acres, with 91% containment as of Sunday evening.

A total of 86 people are fighting the fire, which started August 10.

Investigators believe the fire was human-caused. The investigation into the specific cause is continuing.

Williams Fork Fire

The Williams Fork Fire in Grand County is holding steady at 12,157 acres, with 10% containment as of Sunday evening.

Recent cool temperatures and snow have resulted in minimal fire behavior, and have reduced the chance for fire growth. However, as temperatures fluctuate, people should expect to see smoke from within the fire area as pockets of fuel continue to burn. The fire is expected to burn until sustained wetting rain or snow extinguishes it.

The fire started August 14 and is believed to be human-caused. A total of 82 people are fighting the fire.

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