Cameron Peak Fire grew relatively little Monday, firefighters continue structure protection efforts

Authorities say 95 structures have been damaged, destroyed
Cameron Peak Fire_by Adams County Fire
Posted at 10:45 AM, Sep 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-29 22:09:42-04

LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. — Favorable firefighting conditions helped crews around the Cameron Peak Fire on Monday as they continued to enforce the lines around its perimeter. After increasing over the weekend, the fire grew relatively little on Monday.

The fire grew slightly to 125,006 acres and is about two miles southwest of Red Feather Lakes, according to the Northwest Incident Management Team 6. It remains 21% contained.

The Larimer County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday evening that a total of 41 structures were damaged or destroyed late last week when the fire again intensified – bringing the total number of structures damaged by the fire to 95 as of Tuesday evening.

The hard freeze Sunday evening kept the fire cool on Monday, which helped crews as they continued to reinforce the fire lines around the northeastern area.

Crews placed fire line on everything that crossed Manhattan Road, connecting it to Highway 14, and then further down the highway, they burned fuels to lower the risk of fire spread around the fish hatchery, according to the Northwest Incident Management Team 6.

In addition to work in the northeast, firefighters continued to patrol structures considered at-risk, and mopped up and extinguished hot spots. With less fire activity on Monday, crews were able to make advances along the perimeter near Comanche Reservoir.

The southern edge of the fire, which is mostly uncontained, remained quiet Monday.

Cameron Peak Fire map update_Sept 29 2020

On Tuesday morning, the Northwest Incident Management Team 6 assumed authority over the Cameron Peak Fire. Previously, Southwest Area Incident Management Team 3 had managed the fire.

Firefighters will work to buffer and secure the perimeter, with a focus on structure protection, on Tuesday. The teams will make plans on how to best attack parts of the fire's perimeter that are in more inaccessible areas.

Tuesday's temperatures are expected to hover between the high 50s and high 60s with light northwest winds, though gusts may reach 25 mph. Temperatures will cool more on Wednesday with more northwest winds.

The air quality will improve Tuesday compared to Monday's conditions, thought smoke will likely impact the northern Front Range urban corridor through the evening, according to the Interagency Wildland Fire Air Quality Response Program.

The smoke will drift into Wellington, Fort Collins and Loveland first, before moving into Greeley.

The air quality may be unhealthy for sensitive groups in Fort Collins and Red Feathers Lake.

AQI for Cameron Peak_Sept 29 2020

Much of the smoke in the area Tuesday morning was from the Mullen Fire in Wyoming, which grew to about 2,300 acres, according to the Interagency Wildland Fire Air Quality Response Program.

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.

The fire is the third-largest in Colorado history. It has surpassed 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. Cameron Peak Fire (2020): 125,006 acres
4. Spring Fire (2018): 108,045 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 Rocky Mountain Area Coordination Center said the West Fork Complex fire, which burned a total of 109,632 acres in 2013, is not included on this list since it involved three separate fires.

The fire ignited on Aug. 13 in the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests near Cameron Pass and Chambers Lake. Its cause is under investigation.

A statewide open fire ban is in effect for all of Colorado through Oct. 7.