LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. — Heavy snowfall brought the Cameron Peak Fire in western Larimer County to 64% containment by Tuesday morning, and the fire remained at 208,663 acres, officials said in a morning update.
The snowfall paused the growth of the fire, and a large section of the northern side of the fire was being patrolled by crews and wasn't as active as firefighters have seen in recent weeks.
One challenge presented by the snow, officials said Tuesday, was getting crews safely into and out of the fire area, as roads remained icy.
A winter storm dropped several inches of snow around the entire fire on Sunday and Monday. Operations Section Chief Paul Delmerico said this was a "huge plus for all of the firefighters who have been engaged for the past 76 days." Exact snow accumulation varied, but higher elevations received as much as 18 inches of snow. The Thompson Zone of the fire, which is the spot fire to the east of the East Troublesome Fire, also received about 18 inches of snow.
Officials said they will need extended precipitation that stays on the ground and soaks fuels to completely extinguish the fire. Fire activity may increase as the snow melts and the state moves back into a drying trend on Tuesday.
Multiple locations around the edges of the fire are under voluntary or mandatory evacuations. For details, view the evacuations in the map below, or go here for the full list of evacuations and closures. You can also call 970-980-2500.
For updates on evacuations and closures, text LCEVAC to 888777 from your cell phone.
Fire officials said Tuesday afternoon that Crystal Mountain residents planning to go to the area on Wednesday for damage assessments should meet at the Masonville Mercantile at 8 a.m.
“Try to take as few vehicles as possible per property to limit traffic into the area and plan extra time for the escort in. Prepare for winter driving conditions, 4x4 vehicles, chains if available,” the sheriff’s office said. “The LCSO and Fire Crew will escort people in and ensure the way is cleared. Trees continue to fall across the roads that need to be cleared daily. Once in the area, people will be able to visit properties without escort and leave the area as they wish.”
The Colorado Center of Excellence and Advanced Technology has set up a live view of the Cameron Peak Fire from Horsetooth Mountain, which can be viewed here.
The cause of the Cameron Peak Fire remains under investigation. It sparked on Aug. 13. It is the first wildfire in Colorado history to grow beyond 200,000 acres.