Snowfall at Cameron Peak Fire is a 'huge plus for all of the firefighters,' officials say

Posted at 10:07 AM, Oct 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-26 20:00:13-04

LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. — The snow that is falling over the Cameron Peak Fire has paused its growth, but it won't extinguish the blaze, fire officials said.

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.

Fire managers said they didn't see any growth at the fire on Sunday, and don't expect any on Monday.

They 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. Snow will stop falling at the Cameron Peak Fire on Monday morning.

Conditions will stay clear, but cold for the remainder of the day.

Firefighters haven't been able to begin fire suppression efforts Monday due to wind chills and poor road conditions. They are continuing to monitor the perimeter of the fire where it is safe to do so. Fire officials said the crews will begin engaging with the fire again, but that likely won't begin Monday.

Once conditions allow for normal operations, the crews' focus will return to structure protection on the west side of Estes Park and reinforcing contingency lines.

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.

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.

The state's 10 largest wildfires in history, ranked by acreage, are:
1. Cameron Peak Fire (2020): 208,663 acres
2. East Troublesome Fire (2020): 192,560 acres
3. Pine Gulch Fire (2020): 139,007 acres
4. Hayman Fire (2002): 137,760 acres
5. Spring Fire (2018): 108,045 acres
6. High Park Fire (2012): 87,284 acres
7. Missionary Ridge Fire (2002): 72,962 acres
8. 416 Fire (2018): 54,000 acres
9. Bridger Fire (2008): 45,800 acres
10. Last Chance Fire (2012): 45,000 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.