Cameron Peak Fire grows to 12,124 acres, with 0% containment

The fire more than doubled in size from just under 6,000 acres on Saturday morning.
cameron peak fire friday aug 14
Posted at 11:14 AM, Aug 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-17 09:22:39-04

LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. – Cameron Peak Fire officials on Sunday said the fire had grown to 12,124 acres and was "advancing on all fronts" on Sunday afternoon, especially along the Laramie River Road corridor.

The fire more than doubled in size from just under 6,000 acres on Saturday morning.

On Sunday, the fire jumped across Long Draw road, though crews quickly contained its spread. The fire also progressed south toward Cameron Pass and north toward West Branch. A large air tanker was able to drop retardant to slow the spread of the fire to the north. Crews were working to protect structures on private lands in the Laramie River valley.

Watch the full update from Cameron Peak officials from Sunday evening:

On Saturday it crossed Highway 14 to the south but has also grown toward the north and east and then to the east and southeast as winds shifted throughout the weekend.

On the south side of Highway 14, the fire became established in heavy fuel areas between Barnes Meadow Reservoir and Long Draw Road.

No structures or campgrounds have been damaged by the fire.

Officials expected similar conditions on Sunday and Monday, with extreme winds pushing the fire, and are hoping for some rain early next week.

An uptick in relative humidity Sunday of 27% is expected to result in less intense fire behavior but winds out of the east could push the fire to the west.

Crews will focus on protecting nearby structures and removing fuels by clearing roadside vegetation. Firefighters are still having to take an indirect approach to the fire, as its behavior remains too intense.

The fire in western Larimer County was 5,424 acres in size, with zero containment, Saturday morning after it more than doubled in size on Friday.

The Rocky Mountain Type 2 Incident Management Blue Team took over command of the fire, which started Thursday afternoon near Chambers Lake, on Saturday morning.

Fire officials said Friday evening the fire had spotted to the south of Highway 14.

cameronpeak map saturday morning aug 15
This map shows the location of the Cameron Peak Fire as of 10:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 14.

Crews worked on structure protection Friday as the fire grew quickly. On Saturday, ground crews will continue to work to protect structures that could be at risk and look to identify containment opportunities with help from air support, officials said.

Four Type 1 helicopters and a Type 3 helicopter, along with two air attack and a helictack crews are assisting in the fight. One hundred and twenty personnel are on scene, with more resources ordered.

“Hot, dry, and breezy weather is expected to continue in the next several days, which is likely to drive further fire growth,” the Rocky Mountain Blue Team said.

Cameron Peak Fire officials said just before 5 p.m. that the fire was “somewhat less active” on Saturday than it was Friday. The western side is seeing the most activity – moving west through forest.

Officials said the northern edge of the fire was creeping north on the ridge between Laramie River Road and Highway 14, and that the spot fire south of Highway 14 was backing to the south toward Barnes Meadow Reservoir.

Helicopters were dropping water around the Chambers Lake Campground.

There is a community meeting set for 5 p.m. Saturday on the fire's Facebook page.

Highway 14 remains closed from Rustic to Gould, and there are both mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders in the area. The map below shows the current evacuation zones.

Evacuation Map:

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.

Residents living near the Long Draw Road and Long Draw Reservoir area - which was on pre-evacuation orders Thursday - were ordered to evacuate Friday evening due to fire activity. Residents were advised to travel west to Gould when leaving this vicinity, as eastbound traffic was not allowed for safety reasons.

The evacuation area also included Deadman Road between County Roads 103 and 73C and Manhattan Road between Rustic and Boy Scout Ranch Road and Pingree Park south and west of Crown Point.

The sheriff’s office said Friday morning that if you live inside the roadblocks on Highway 14 between Gould and Rustic and are not in a mandatory quarantine area, you can access your property by showing proof of address at a roadblock if authorities determine the area is safe.

The Cameron Peak Fire is one of four large wildfires burning currently in Colorado, along with the Pine Gulch Fire, Grizzly Creek Fire and Williams Fork Fire, which started Friday and grew quickly to more than 1,300 acres.

An air quality advisory is in effect for much of the state again Saturday due to the wildfire smoke.

Matt Champa, a U.S. Forest Service Ranger and incident commander trainee for the fire, said in a news conference Friday afternoon that the fire was "just too hot and dangerous" for crews to engage directly with it. Champa called the fire behavior "pretty significant" on Friday afternoon and cited extremely dry conditions throughout the Rawah Wilderness.

The Colorado National Guard said Friday it was launching an aircraft to help Larimer County officials search for a family of four in the area of the Cameron Peak fire, though their exact location was not yet known.