Fires Rage Near Fort Collins & Guernsey
It is shaping up to be a busy season for those fighting wildfires across the country as expected this year. Just as crews mop up the Cow Camp fire near Wheatland that has burned around 8,500 acres and is now 90% contained, another batch of wildfires have already sprung up. Over the weekend two new fires were sparked, one near Fort Collins, CO and the other in Wyoming’s Guernsey State Park.
What is being deemed the “High Park Fire” started Saturday, June 9th at 5:54 AM just 15 miles West of Fort Collins. Driven by high winds, the fire has grown dramatically and reports today are estimating that it has consumed 36,930 acres and is 0% contained. Colorado’s InciWeb reports that flame lengths have been up to 300 feet and that the fire has been moving at 20-40 feet per minute at times. National Type 1 fire teams have taken over the fight as the flames move toward the Poudre Park neighborhood and evacuations take place. At the current time, 400 personnel are fighting the fire and heavy air tankers as well as helicopters are on the scene. The fire is also forcing ozone alerts and changes to outdoor events around the state of Colorado with smoke filling the air. Visibility on US 287 is also somewhat of a concern. The cause of the fire is still under investigation but lightning is suspected to have started the blaze.
The Wyoming State Forestry Division reports that a fire started in Guernsey State Park on Saturday, June 9th. The fire quickly grew, causing the evacuation of hundreds of campers and subsequently closed the park to visitors. The Forestry Division estimates that 2,500 to 3,000 acres have been burned so far and says that the fire is currently 20% contained. Structures, campgrounds, RV’s and power lines are threatened, and one structure has been confirmed destroyed. A Rocky Mountain Area Type II Incident Management Team is managing the incident. K2 Radio is also reporting that 70 citizens of nearby Hartville on the east side of Guernsey State Park have been told to be ready to leave in an hour’s notice.