Cameron Peak Fire's containment increases to 8%, air quality to decline throughout Wednesday

Air Quality Health Advisory in effect for Front Range
Cameron Peak Fire_Sept 15 2020
Posted at 10:28 AM, Sep 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-17 12:58:55-04

Click here for Thursday's story on the Cameron Peak Fire.


LARMER COUNTY, Colo. — Firefighters at the Cameron Peak Fire were able to increase the containment percentage of the fire as it continues burning in Larimer County.

The 102,596-acre fire is now 8% contained, according to the Southwest Incident Management Team, which is overseeing the fire.

On Tuesday, firefighters established containment lines along a section of the fire south of Highway 14 from east of Glen Echo and west of the Pingree Park Road.

Winds helped the fire flare up on the Green Ridge area along Highway 14 in an area known as The Thumb. More firefighters will be transferred to this area on Wednesday to build direct and indirect fire line .

The fire is expected to become more active due to drying fuels, warming temperatures and low humidity in the area.

The focus on Wednesday will center on containment efforts along Highway 14, Pingree Park Road, Long Draw Road and the Buckhorn Road to Comanche Reservoir. Structure protection efforts will also continue in the Crystal Lakes, Red Feather and Glacier View subdivisions.

Temperatures over the next few days will drop into the 60s. Humidity will stay in the teens. Winds will shift to the southeast Thursday and to the southwest for the remainder of the week before storms move in for the weekend.

An Air Quality Health Advisory has been issued by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday due to smoke in the air.

The below graphic from the Interagency Wildland Fire air Quality Response Program shows the daily air quality index (AQI). Yellow dots indicate moderate AQI and orange dots indicate the air is unhealthy for sensitive groups.

Cameron Peak air quality_Sept 16 2020

Smoke moved into the Front Range on Tuesday and settled overnight. Throughout the afternoon Wednesday, the air quality will slowly decline.

Multiple mandatory and voluntary evacuations, as well as road closures, are in place around the Cameron Peak Fire. The voluntary evacuation for Glacier View was lifted on Tuesday. 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 fourth-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. 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.

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

Drones are not allowed to fly around the fire. On Sunday afternoon, a drone was spotted flying in the restricted fly zone near Glen Haven. This caused the officials of the fire's air operations to shift their efforts to the northern portion of the fire until they could confirm that the drone had left the area and would not return.