Morning Update on High Park Fire (6/26/12)
Release Date: Jun 26, 2012
Public Information Officer
Larimer County Sheriff's Office
Morning Update for the High Park Fire - 6/26/12
The High Park Fire is estimated at 87,250 acres with 55 percent containment. The current cost of the fire to date is estimated at 31.5 million dollars. There are 1941 fire personnel assigned to the firefighting effort. Equipment resources include; 13 Type 1 hand crews, 20 Type 2 hand crews, 164 engines, 11 dozers and 24 water tenders. Air Resources include; 6 Type I (heavy) helicopters, 3 Type II (medium) helicopters, 10 Type III (light) helicopters, 1 Type II helicopter with a radiometric imaging system attached, fixed wing support aircraft, and available heavy air tankers.
“We had a very good day” (Monday), said Operations Chief Kole Berriochoa. The north fire edge by Hewlett Gulch did not waver in 43 mph gusts. In the center of the fire, a few trees torched (caught fire to their tops), but most fire activity was moderate. Overnight Sunday, the southwest corner of the fire toward Pingree Park burned down slopes to Forest Road 135, where crews successfully held their prepared lines on Monday. Firefighters have now “tied in,” or created defensible line, for that portion of the line.
Although operations went successfully Monday, near-record low fuel moistures, high temperatures, low relative humidity, and gusty winds near thunderstorms can contribute to active fire growth. Operations Chief Jeff Surber reminded, “There’s still a lot of heat out there, a lot of heat near the line” (near burnable materials). Trees and grass remain as dry as they ever have been during the fire, and mosses and lichens are burning on granite rock.
Tuesday, crews on the north side of the fire will continue line construction and reinforcement, and structure protection as necessary. Mop-up efforts will focus around structures and unburned islands in the center of the burn area. "Mop up" refers to the use of water and tools to ensure that the fire is thoroughly extinguished in a particular area.
Licensed river guides will transport a few crews across the Poudre Canyon by raft, using flotation devices, so firefighters can mop-up in otherwise inaccessible areas. Aggressive mop-up of hot areas takes more than a few days and is becoming the focus of work for many crews.
The total of homes destroyed to date is 257, which is an increase from the previous report of 248. It should be noted that these homes burned earlier in the course of the fire, but have only now been confirmed as lost. Officials are informing homeowners about fire damage as that information becomes available and the priority will be getting this information to residents first. As more assessments are made and information becomes available, residents will be notified. Areas still evacuated are being evaluated to determine when residents may re-enter. Factors being considered before lifting an evacuation include fire activity, utility repair, emergency traffic in the area, and road hazards such as falling rocks and trees. Formal assessment of structures is a methodical process and will continue for at least a couple of weeks. Some areas are still inaccessible due to fire activity and road hazards.
Fire officials are hopeful of allowing residents to return to the Redstone Canyon area this evening (6/26/12). Residents should attend the citizens briefing to confirm this access and to obtain credentials.
Fire officials are targeting a Thursday (6/28/12) return date for residents of the Rist Canyon area. Residents should attend the citizens briefing(s) to confirm the progress of this reintegration effort.
All residents returning to their homes need to remain vigilant and consider themselves in a pre-evacuation status until otherwise notified.
The Following Roads are Closed:
- Red Feather Lakes Road. (CR74E) is closed from CR 37 to Boy Scout Road (68C).
- Hwy 14 is closed from Grey Rock Trailhead to Eggers.
- Redstone Canyon (25E) is closed at the intersection of Feverfew Road.
- Stove Prairie Road (CR27) from Stringtown Gulch Road to Hwy 14.
- Buckhorn Road (CR44H) from CR27 west.
- Rist Canyon Road (CR52E) west of CR27E.
- Pingree Park Road (CR63E) from Hwy 14 to Buckhorn Road. (CR44H).
- Red Canyon Ranch Road. is closed north of Scrub Jay Road.
The Following Roads are Open with Restricted Access (RESIDENTS ONLY)
- Stringtown Gulch Road and roads accessed off of Stringtown Gulch Road.
- Missile Silo Road. (CR29C) and McMurray Ranch Road.
- Hwy 14 from Missile Silo Rd. (CR29C) to Grey Rock Trailhead.
The Following Roads are Open - No Restrictions
- Hwy. 14 from Hwy 287 to Missile Silo Road (CR29C).
- CR 38E
- Otter Road
- CR 27 from Masonville to Stringtown Gulch Road
- Redstone Canyon Road (CR25E) north to Feverfew Road.
A Red Flag Warning has been issued for Tuesday 6/26/2012 from 12:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Dry lightning, thunderstorms, gusty winds and very low relative humidity are anticipated. Tuesday's warning is the 6th consecutive day of Red Flag Warnings.
Resident Information (Meetings, Evacuation Notices and Evacuation Lift Notices):
Citizen Briefings will be at 5:00 p.m. at the Cache La Poudre Middle School, 3515 W. CR54G in Laporte.
The next media briefing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, June 27, 2012. It will be held at the CSU Department of Atmospheric Science, located at 3915 W. LaPorte Avenue in Fort Collins.
Officials are making preliminary plans for a media tour of some areas of the High Park Fire area. The tour is tentatively planned for tomorrow afternoon (Wednesday, June 27th). More information will be forthcoming in future updates.
Cooperating and Assisting Agencies
Larimer County Sheriff's Office, Colorado State Forest Service, Colorado Department of Public Safety, Colorado State Parks, Colorado State Patrol, Colorado State University Police Department, Fort Collins Police Services, National Guard Military Police, City of Fort Collins, Colorado State University, Rist Canyon Volunteer Fire Department, Poudre Fire Authority, Loveland Fire Rescue, Glacier View Volunteer Fire Department, Poudre Canyon Fire Protection District, and United States Geological Survey. There are also numerous utility companies and support agencies involved with infrastructure recovery efforts.
The Rist Canyon, Glacier View and Poudre Canyon Volunteer Fire Departments are looking for donations to help defray the costs of firefighters assigned to the High Park Fire. To make a donation, please visit their websites at:
Glacier View Fire -www.glacierviewfiredept.com
Rist Canyon Fire - www.rcvfd.org
Poudre Canyon Fire - www.poudrecanyonfiredistrict.org
Road Closure Information:
Larimer County Sheriff's Office now has a webpage dedicated to road closures due to the High Park Fire. Visit the link http://larimersheriff.org/site-page/high-park-fire-road-information for more 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.
Public information is available at the Larimer County Emergency Information line at 970-498-5500 where information officers are answering the phone during the day and evening, and at www.larimer.org or on Twitter @ larimersheriff or Inciweb at www.inciweb.org/incident/2904/.
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.
For Public Health Advisories regarding wildfires, see "Wildfires and Your Health" at http://www.larimer.org/health/