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Friday marks 14th day of High Park fire

7:09 PM, Jun 22, 2012   |    comments
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By Blair Shiff

LARIMER COUNTY, Co. (KUSA) - A second round of emergency evacuation orders have been issued Friday in the High Park Fire.

The second order includes all residents of Filings 1 through 8 in Glacier View, homes north of County Road 74E to include Green Mountain Drive, Mount Axtell Drive, Mount Moriah Road, Mount Simon Drive and all connecting roadways in that area. Officials say residents should evacuate to The Ranch on I-25 and Crossroads Boulevard.

This is the first time residents north of CR 74E were issued evacuation notices since the fire began.

Earlier Friday, officials issued evacuation orders for all North Rim Road residents and all small roads running off of there.

There were 612 additional evacuation notices issued Friday, bringing the total to 733 for the day.

Fridays orders prompted the Red Cross to reopen the Evacuation Shelter at the Cache Le Poudre Middle School in La Port.

The new evacuations were caused by increased winds and a 400-acre spot fire.

The High Park Fire claimed two more homes, bringing the total to 191 destroyed.

An assessment team identified the two homes Thursday. They were apparently missed during the original assessment in the Whale Rock and Stove Prairie areas.

The High Park Fire has burned an estimated 68,440 acres and is 60 percent contained as of Friday morning.

Incident commander Bill Hahnenberg says it could be months before it is fully controlled.

Governor John Hickenlooper signed an executive order that authorizes an additional $5 million to the state's Disaster Emergency Fund to pay for firefighting efforts in the High Park Fire. An earlier executive order OK'd $20 million for the fire.

Fire danger will remain high on Friday, at least over northwest Colorado, through Saturday. A red flag warning will continue for areas near Steamboat Springs, Craig, Meeker and the western slope until 8 p.m. Saturday.

On Thursday, temperatures ranged from 78 to 85 degrees with southeast winds 10 to 15 mph. Relative humidity of 15 to 20 percent on the west side of the fire with slightly higher humidity to the east helped calm the blaze.

Thursday night, crews continued to patrol and mop up around structures and unburned islands within the fire perimeter.

On Wednesday, favorable weather conditions provided a window of opportunity and firefighters responded aggressively, Larimer County officials said.

The cooler mid-week weather allowed crews to continue structure protection on both the interior of the fire and outside containment lines.

View the High Park Fire progression map here 

The cost of fighting the fire has ballooned to an estimated $21.6 million and climbing.

More than 1,800 personnel are working on the fire with a 24-hour schedule using day and night shifts. Firefighters have put in nearly 250,000 hours of work on the High Park Fire, which translates into nearly 18 years-worth of hours.

As of Tuesday, nearly 1.3 million gallons of water have been dropped on the fire.

"[The fire was a] dragon tried to lure us into thinking it was sleeping," one Larimer County official said on Monday. "[Sunday,] it showed us it's not."

There are 135 engines on the scene and 18 helicopters battling the blaze.

Larimer County officials say 191 homes burned, making it the "most destructive fire" in Colorado history.

In comparison, the September 2010 Four Mile Canyon Fire burned more than 6,300 acres and destroyed a total of 169 homes. The 2002 Hayman Fire destroyed 133 homes and burned 138,000 acres of forest.
According to Larimer County officials, there are more than 700 residences in the High Park Fire perimeter.

The following list is of confirmed structures destroyed in the High Park Fire:
Soldier Canyon - 1
Missile Silo Road - 1
Cloudy Pass - 1
Picnic Rock - 1
Pine Acres - 5
Stratton Park - 21
Poudre Canyon - 17
Spring Valley - 3
Old Flowers - 1
Whale Rock - 40
Paradise Park - 12
Tip Top - 2
Redstone - 1
Rist Creek - 7
Davis Ranch - 51
Laurence Creek/Redstone - 0
Buckhorn - 8
Stove Prairie Road - 11
Rist Canyon - 8

Officials continue to assess other damaged or destroyed properties.

Thursday morning, Poudre Park residents were allowed to return after noon to their homes.

CR 74E remains open and a pre-evacuation alert remains in effect for the rest of Glacier View subdivision (including the area north of CR 74E), and the area south of CR 74E between Hewlett Gulch Road to the east and CR 68C to the west and HWY 14 to the south.

Red Cross Service Center at McKee Bldg is offering assistance to those residents whose homes were destroyed by the High Park Fire. Residents are urged to come to the McKee Building for individual client service to find out what assistance is available from the Red Cross. Service Center is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 7 p.m. on Sunday.

On Saturday morning, a firefighter on scene was air-lifted to a local hospital due to a pre-existing condition. The firefighter is stable and the condition was non-life threatening.

Due to the high-fire danger and the very dry conditions in Colorado, Governor Hickenlooper banned open burning and private use of fireworks throughout the state. The ban does not apply to campfires in fire pits, fireplaces, grills or controlled burns for agricultural purposes. Commercial, professional and municipal firework displays are allowed as long as they have the proper permits.

On June 11, authorities confirmed 62-year-old Linda Steadman died from the blaze. Search crews found Steadman's remains at her house on Old Flowers Road.

Authorities say Steadman received two notification calls. A deputy was on his way to personally warn her, but he was pushed back by flames.

Large animals and livestock can be taken to The Ranch Events Complex at 5280 Arena Circle, Suite 100 in Loveland also. Small domestic animals can be taken to the Larimer County Humane Society. If you want to help the evacuated animals, you can donate to the Larimer Humane Society online, www.larimerhumane.org.

All the wolves were evacuated from the Wolf Sanctuary after the fire broke out. If you would like to help, offers can be made on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/nocowolfsanctuary.

The High Park Fire was first spotted at around 6 a.m. on June 9. Crews had to hike through difficult terrain to first reach the area.

Lightning caused the High Park Fire.

KUSA

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