The cool weather on Wednesday gave firefighters an advantage, and they took it, raising containment of the High Park Fire to around 55 percent. However, the fire burning west of Fort Collins in Roosevelt National Park grew to 68,200 acres and officials say that it could be weeks -- or even months -- before the fire is completely under control.
"Mother nature provided a window," Brett Haberstick of the Interagency Wildfire Dispatch Center said, according to Fox31. "These conditions gave us a very good operational environment for being aggressive with this fire and gaining control."
And indeed the weather did provide a much needed boost with humidity levels approaching 45 percent in the area from around 3 percent earlier in the week, The Denver Post reports.
However, temperatures are expected to rise back into the 80s on Thursday.
Reporters were also given a tour of a burnt out community along Larimer County Road 29C, Missile Silo Road. 9News' Kevin Torres spoke with firefighters in the area who spoke about the devastation and the time it will take for the area to recover -- at least a generation, firefighters said. Patrick Love of the Poudre Fire Authority told Torres, "Most of us will be dead before things look the way they used to."
Although cooler temperatures and higher humidity allowed firefighters to make some progress on containment lines, the west flank of the fire, south of Highway 14, still remained very active near the junction of Poudre Canyon Highway and Pingree Park Road, according to InciWeb.org.
The wildfire which has already burned approximately 106-square-miles, is the third largest fire as well as the most destructive fire in Colorado state history, having burned at least 189 homes so far. The cost of the fire to date is $19.6 million.
1,978 firefighters battle the blaze, burning since June 9 and now in its 13th day, with the help of 17 helicopters, 4 heavy air tankers, 132 fire engines and 5 dozers.
- PRE-evacuation notifications sent to residents along Colorado Highway 14 from the Pingree Park Road on 6/19, west to Glen Echo (mile marker 90), and north on CR69 to Goodell Corner. The pre-evacuation notice was issued in response to a new spot fire north of Highway 14 along the northwest fire perimeter.
- Mandatory evacuation orders were issued on 6/17 for residents in the Hewlett Gulch subdivision area. The area runs from the Glacier View 9-12 filings (already evacuated) east to the Hewlett Gulch Trail, north to CR 74E and south to HWY 14.
- Thursday an evacuation order for the 9th, 10th and 11th filings of Glacier View, to include the area west from Eiger Road to Rams Horn Mountain Road and north from the Mount Blanc Guardian Peak area to the north end of Mount Everest Drive, was issued. Evacuations were also ordered along Many Thunders Road and south into the 12th Filing of Glacier View. The road block is located at Eiger and Many Thunders Mountain Road. An additional roadblock is located at Green Mountain Drive at CR 74E.
- 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.
Evacuation orders remain in place for the following areas:
- Pingree Park Road, Hourglass and Comanche reservoirs, east on Buckhorn Road up to and including Pennock Pass, NE to junction with Stove Prairie and Hwy 14; West to junction with Highway 15 and Pingree Park Road
- County Road 44H (Buckhorn Road) from County Road 27 to Pennock Pass and residents to the south approximately 3/4 - 1 mile.
- Areas south and west of Bellvue to include the Lory State Park area, the Redstone Canyon area and Buckhorn Road up to the Stove Prairie School.
- Poudre Canyon from MM111 to MM118 on Highway 14. This means Poudre Canyon from Stove Prairie to MM118 is under mandatory evacuations.
- The area between CR 27E and Stove Prairie Road and south through the entire Rist Canyon area including Davis Ranch Road, Whale Rock Road.
- South on County Road 44H 3 miles to just north of Stringtown Gulch Road, Paradise Park Road, Moose Horn Lane, Magic Lane and Spencer Mountain Road.
- Old Flowers Road from Stove Prairie Road to the 8000-block of Old Flowers Road.
- -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.
- Otter Road off of CR 27 (not a new notice; additional listing for clarification).
- King's Canyon area and Boyd Gulch Road.
- Satanka Cove
Meanwhile, firefighters battling the Springer Fire, near Lake George in Colorado Springs, had their air tankers temporarily grounded due to meteor warnings, according to The Associated Press. The temporary grounding came after multiple meteor sighting reports came in, including one person who thought they saw a meteorite land in a wooded area north of Buena Vista.
For official fire maps and live updates from the ground of the many Colorado wildfires currently burning, visit InciWeb.org.
LOOK: Dramatic photos, video of the High Park Fire
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