LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. – The Cameron Peak Fire burning in western Larimer County grew to 18,287 acres as of Sunday morning, up about 1,000 acres since Saturday, with 0% containment and more hot and dry weather in the forecast this weekend.
The area surrounding Pingree Park Road and to the west were evacuated Friday afternoon after the fire spotted near Peterson Lake and became very active, fire officials said.
Crews and the county decided that the fire might reach the evacuation point already, and thus ordered the evacuations. Officials said Saturday morning the fire did not make it that far and still has “a long way to go” before it reaches the Pingree Park area.
Fire officials said they did not expect increased fire activity on Saturday despite temperatures in the lower 80s and relative humidity in the 8% to 13% range.
But smoke from the fire was heavy across the Front Range Saturday morning and is expected to drift farther toward Denver in the afternoon.
Noon Sat: Smoke is particularly dense around Longmont/Ft Collins. Visibility is around 3 miles, indicating unhealthy air. The Cameron Peak fire will send more smoke to the same area today, and it will drift south toward Denver.https://t.co/l5cwYNlIelhttps://t.co/BffERQ6ENK pic.twitter.com/n0gEs2uQYx— NWS Boulder (@NWSBoulder) August 22, 2020
More road closures were put in place inside the voluntary evacuation area on Saturday. Old Flowers Road is closed at Stove Prairie. Buckhorn Road is closed at CR 27. Local residents can still use the roads if they need to get to their property.
There have so far been zero structures damaged or lost in the fire and no firefighters have been injured.
Crews will be using aircraft to dump more water on the area Saturday in order to slow the fire’s movement in the Peterson Lake area and will be working to prepare for more fire activity on the fire’s north end, in the Laramie River valley and Rawah Wilderness.
Officials said they have an estimated 5 to 7 days of work ahead of them, with hand crews and heavy equipment building lines between Laramie River Road and Crystal Lakes.
Officials said Saturday morning that a surge group was brought in to the Pingree Park Road area consisting of several hot shot crews to create fire lines on the west end of Pingree Park to near the Rocky Mountain National Park boundary.
A new wildfire, the Lewstone Fire, started east-northeast of the Cameron Peak Fire on Saturday afternoon.
There were 691 personnel working the fire as of Saturday evening, and 10 helicopters of different varieties. Gov. Jared Polis on Friday authorized the Colorado National Guard to provide up to 30 soldiers to establish 24-hour traffic control points in Larimer County to be sure people are not getting into restricted areas near the fire.
Highway 14 remains closed from Kelly Flats to Gould, and there are evacuations in place throughout the area. People who have to evacuate can text LCEVAC to 888777 for updates. More information on evacuations, road closures and emergency alerts can be found here.
On Tuesday afternoon, Rocky Mountain National Park put in place temporary closures in the northwestern area of the park out of an abundance of caution because the fire is burning about four miles from the park’s northwest edge.
The fire was estimated Friday morning at 16,602 acres. Denver7 spoke with local business owners Friday about how the fire and evacuations are affecting what is typically a busy time of the year.
The Cameron Peak Fire is one of four major fires currently burning in Colorado. Click here for more Denver7 coverage of the wildfires.