TELLER COUNTY, Colo. — Firefighters are continuing to secure the perimeter of the High Park Fire, which is under a red flag warning Monday.
The High Park Fire, about five miles west of Cripple Creek, grew to 1,558 acres, based on an overnight infrared flyover, the incident management team said Friday evening. Around 9:30 p.m., officials updated the burned acreage to 1,573. It is 37% contained, mostly around its north and west sides.
Mandatory evacuation orders remain in place for the Lakemoor subdivision and pre-evacuation notices are in effect for Cripple Creek Ranches. Click here for an interactive map of the evacuations and closures.
About 580 homes are within these two zones, and include about 400 people and 75 rural businesses. According to the Teller County Assessor’s Office, the value of the evacuated properties is about $56.9 million. Pre-evacuation properties add another $216.1 million.
No structures have been destroyed, though they got close, fire officials said Sunday late afternoon.
The fire was reported on May 12 shortly after 4 p.m.
Six firefighting helicopters have been dropping water over the areas of heat on cycles running every three minutes. Air tankers are available but have not yet been called out to help.
Fire officials said retardant has been effective in holding back the flames as crews dig firelines.
Fuels are critically dry around the fire, which is growing in multiple directions.
The crews along the western edge plan to continue securing the fire's edge as they move southward to connect the hand lines and dozer lines to Fourmile Creek. The firefighters on the northeast side are securing areas of heat and ensuring residents are prepared in case the fire advances near them. They plan to secure a line from Lakemoor Drive down to Rattlesnake Gulch
A red flag warning will cover the fire area on Monday from noon to 8 p.m.
An isolated thunderstorm may move over the fire by the afternoon, and could bring gusty, erratic winds and a small chance of rain, the incident management team said. Gusts may reach 30 mph, with 10 to 15 mph sustained wind.
The Teller County Board of County Commissioners is requesting that the state declare a statewide wildfire emergency. It estimated that the cost of firefighting at the High Park Fire is about $2 million as of now, but could reach $300 million depending on the fire's severity and how long it burns. This would exhaust the Teller County Fire Contingency Fund, the board said.
“While we are being fiscally responsible and maximizing cost-sharing, mission success in fighting this fire and saving human lives and property is paramount," Board Chairman Dan Williams said. "Based on the early date of this fire and our extreme drought conditions, there is a high probability that we could face our next fire with a depleted fund."
Teller County is under stage 2 fire restrictions.
A town hall community meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 17 at 5 p.m. at Cripple Creek Victor High School in Cripple Creek.