The out of control High Park Fire burning in Larimer County, Colorado grew larger on Monday scorching more than 41,140 acres by nightfall.
9News reports that nearly 100 homes have now been damaged or destroyed in a fire that authorities are calling "very aggressive" and believe to have been started by lightning. Firefighters have seen flames as high as 300 feet and moving as fast as 20-40 feet per minute, according to InciWeb.org.
On Monday, officials also confirmed that there has been one death due to the High Park Fire, The Coloradoan reported. Officials believe they found the remains of 62-year-old Linda Stedman at her house on Old Flowers Road.
Stedman reportedly received two fire notification calls and when a deputy personally went to her residence to warn her, he was pushed back by flames that were already consuming the house, according to 9News.
The family issued a statement about Stedman that was read by Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith on Monday night, 7News released part of that statement:
Linda Steadman, mother, grandmother, sister and wife perished in the cabin she loved. As you can imagine, this is a difficult time for the Steadman family, and they ask that they are allowed time to grieve privately. The entire Steadman Family would like to commend all the firefighters and emergency personnel dedicated to saving lives and property.
On Sunday night, the High Park Fire burning in Larimer County, Colorado had already scorched more than 20,000 acres and Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith said there is little hope for containment anytime soon.
"We have no hope for containment today," Smith said during a Sunday media briefing about the fire. "Mother Nature is driving this fire. All we can do is get people out of the way."
Reuters reports that Mother Nature has indeed produced difficult conditions for firefighters over since the blaze took hold including erratic and strong winds, dry conditions and temperatures rising above 90 degrees near the fire.
The total number of firefighters on the scene has increased, jumping to 400 on Monday from 250 on Sunday. Sheriff Smith said that the firefighters are doing everything they can to battle the blaze with the support of several air tankers and helicopters. Additional ground, air and fire engines have been ordered for Monday, according to InciWeb.org.
The Denver Post reports that the number of firefighters is expected to reach 600 by Wednesday.
"This is the fire a lot of folks in Larimer County have always been worried about," Gov. John Hickenlooper said after touring the scene of the fire, The Denver Post reports. "We are throwing everything at it we can." Gov. Hickenlooper signed an executive order requesting National Guard support for fire relief efforts.
During a Sunday media briefing, Smith echoed Hickenlooper's sentiments saying that this fire has been burning through multiple areas of Roosevelt National Forest that authorities have been concerned about for the past two decades.
About 2,600 emergency notifications have gone out to residents and businesses within a five to 15-mile radius of the nearly 64-square-mile fire over the weekend and into Monday.
InciWeb.org reports that evacuation orders remain in place for the following areas:
- South of County Road 38E from Gindler Ranch Road west to Milner Ranch Road (325 notifications).
- County Road 38E is now closed from Masonville to Harmony Road at the junction of Taft Hill Road.
- Crystal Mountain area including Crystal Mountain Road and the Upper Buckhorn (24 notifications).
- Bonner Peak Subdivision (183 notifications)
- Buckhorn Rd from CR27 to Pennock Pass and residents to the south approximately 3/4-1 mile. (69 notifications).
- North of CR38E, from Horsetooth Reservoir to Redstone Canyon to Lory State Park. (326 notifications)
- Stove Prairie Road north along County Road 27 to Highway 14, east along Highway 14 to approximately mile marker 111, southeast to Rist Canyon Fire Station 1, then back west to to include Wilderness Ridge Way, Rist Creek Road, Spring Valley Road and County Road 41 and all of the roads that run off of it. All of Rist Canyon (west of 27E) and all roads off of it, including Whale Rock Road and Davis Ranch Road. South 3 additional miles on County Road 44H to just north of Stringtown Gulch Road.
- Poudre Park (along Highway 14) area from mile marker 111 to mile marker 118.
- Highway 14 from Ted's Place to Stove Prairie is closed, as well as Stove Prairie Road and Rist Canyon.
- Sunday include all residents from County Road 27E to Bellvue and for the area south and west of Bellvue, including Lory State Park and Red Stone Canyon, and Buckhorn Road from Masonville up to Stove Prairie School. Evacuation ordered for CR 29C and McMurry Ranch Road (33 notifications).
- Pre-evacuation planning is underway with Glacier View Fire but no pre-evacuation orders have been sent.
To put the size of the fire into perspective -- at more than 41,000 acres, the fire is almost as large as both the cities of Boulder and Fort Collins, Colorado combined.
For the latest official maps of the fire, updates on closed roads and evacuations visit InciWeb.org.
LOOK: Photos, video from the High Park Fire below.
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