Assessments underway for structure damage around Cameron Peak Fire

Cameron Peak Fire_Sept 10 2020
Posted at 12:47 PM, Sep 11, 2020

LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. — The Cameron Peak Fire has stayed relatively calm with this week's snow and cooler temperatures, which allowed crews to assess the damage to Highway 14 and the Monument Gulch area on Thursday and Friday.

Damage assessments were completed for Highway 14, and anybody with damaged property was notified, according to the incident management team. Crews resumed similar work in the Monument Gulch area and will contact anybody with structure damage once the assessments are complete. No other details on structure damage was available Friday.

Because weather conditions have been favorable for firefighting for much of this week, firefighters were able to mop up some areas of heat along roadways, while also reinforcing and constructing fire lines.

READ MORE: Thanks to snow and additional resources, firefighters can launch 'more direct' attack on Cameron Peak Fire

The Cameron Peak Fire has burned 102,596 acres and is 4% contained.

The cold and damp conditions this week were ideal for containment efforts, however it came with its own set of challenges, including slopes that are now slippery and snow-covered.

Many roads around the fire are not passable due to downed trees and powerlines, and rockslides, the incident management team reported. Some roads were also icy. Firefighters and agency partners are working to clear the roads so utility and assessment crews can access the areas.

As conditions better and areas become more accessible, firefighters will enter the new terrain to continue mopping up hot areas and establishing containment lines. They will also strengthen protection measures around homes and other values that are at risk.

Light snow will continue to fall over the fire on Friday before skies will clear. Less than half an inch of accumulation is expected, fire officials said. Friday is a windy day, with strong gusts from the west up to 40 mph.

Lighter winds will move in Saturday, with sunny skies and warming temperatures expected through the weekend.

Multiple mandatory and voluntary evacuations, as well as road closures, are in place around the Cameron Peak Fire. Click here for a full list of evacuations, or explore the map below.

To sign up for emergency alerts in Larimer County, visit NOCO Alert's website here. For updates for people who have been forced to evacuate, text the word LCEVAC to 888777 from your cell phone.

On Sunday, Rocky Mountain National Park implemented closures on Trail Ridge Road at Rainbow Curve on the east side and Colorado River Trailhead on the west side. The park has kept these closures in place due to drifted snow and ice. The reopening date is unknown as of Friday at noon. The closure is for all drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. Click here for more details on the RMNP closures.

About 11 miles of the park has burned, according to Denver7's news partners at The Denver Post.

Officials will hold a live Facebook Q & A Friday at 7:30 p.m. Click here to watch.

A statewide open fire ban is in effect for the through Oct. 7.

The fire is now the fourth-largest in Colorado history – surpassing the High Park Fire that damaged hundreds of homes and killed one person in 2012 just east of where the Cameron Peak Fire is currently burning.

The state's 10 largest wildfires in history, ranked by acreage, are:
1. Pine Gulch Fire (2020): 139,007 acres
2. Hayman Fire (2002): 137,760 acres
3. Spring Fire (2018): 108,045 acres
4. Cameron Peak Fire (2020): 102,596 acres
5. High Park Fire (2012): 87,284 acres
6. Missionary Ridge Fire (2002): 72,962 acres
7. 416 Fire (2018): 54,000 acres
8. Bridger Fire (2008): 45,800 acres
9. Last Chance Fire (2012): 45,000 acres
10. Bear Springs/Callie Marie fires (2011): 44,662 acres
(Note: The 2013 West Fork Complex is not included on this list because it was a series of different fires close to one another.)

The fire ignited on Aug. 13 in the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests near Cameron Pass and Chambers Lake. Its cause is under investigation. Fire officials said the estimated containment date is Oct. 31.

Click here for all of Denver7's wildfire coverage.