Colorado’s Cameron Peak Fire: What is now the largest wildfire in Colorado state history, the Cameron Peak Fire, retreated slightly on Sunday. The stability is being attributed to cooler temperatures and a bit of precipitation. This fire has consumed over 203,000 acres as it continues to tear through land in the foothills of Northern Colorado, near Fort Collins and Loveland. As of Monday, the blaze is 62% contained. Nearly 1,500 firefighters are going to battle against the fire.
While cloudy conditions across the area hindered the firefighters’ visibility and ability to fight the fire, the crews were able to make good progress in keeping the flames at bay. Helicopters were only able to assist in efforts for three hours on Sunday due to the heavy smoke and cloud cover.Read More »
What is On Tap for Monday: Dry and windy weather is expected throughout the day on Monday, leading to the possibility that the fire will continue to increase in size. According to authorities, suppression work will continue throughout Monday night in an effort to slow down the spread.
Authorities are the most worried about the west side of the fire with sustained winds expected in the 25-35 mph range and gusts reaching 55 mph. Winds on the eastern side of the blaze are expected to reach a speed of 15-25 mph with gusts up to 30-40 mph during the afternoon hours. The combination of high winds, sunny skies, and low levels of humidity will boost the fire activity.
The Cameron Peak Fire started on August 13 in the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests.
Elsewhere in Colorado: The Cameron Peak Fire is not the only issue causing headaches for Colorado crews. Over the weekend, two large fires ignited to the south in Boulder County. The CalWood fire forced the evacuation of approximately 3,000 people near Jamestown on Saturday. The fast-moving blaze has now destroyed over 9,000 acres, making it the largest fire in Boulder County history. The blaze is being blamed for the loss of at least 26 homes. Authorities say that more structures were in its path, but they have not been able to confirm further damages. The CalWood Fire is now fully contained.
The Lefthand Canyon fire ignited on Sunday near the town of Ward, just 15 miles southwest of Jamestown and the CalWood Fire. Almost 150 homes were evacuated because of the encroaching flames and smoke. Fortunately, the fire only burned 300 acres before being brought to full containment.
Fires in Utah: In addition to Colorado, the state of Utah saw two new major fires erupt over the weekend. Burning just outside the city limits of Orem, the Range Fire is now over 3,000 acres with no containment. Located about 100 miles northeast of this blaze is the Fire Canyon Fire. This blaze has destroyed approximately 1,500 acres and is only 10% contained.
The state of Utah is expecting to see above average temperatures and low humidity through Wednesday. Crews may see relief later in the week when a cool front brings lower temperatures, higher levels of humidity, and a significant chance of precipitation.
Farther Out West: While Colorado was the state making all of the wildfire headlines over the weekend, it does not mean that California is out of the woods yet. As of Monday morning, there are still 12 major wildfires causing issues across California. 7,400 firefighters are positioned on the frontlines to try to contain the growing flames. There were 47 new initial attack fires on Sunday. Two of these continue to grow in El Dorado County and Monterey County.
A Fire Weather Watch remains in effect for parts of Northern California through Wednesday morning. This elevated fire risk is a result of unseasonably warm temperatures and low humidity levels. This weather pattern is expected to stay in place throughout the week. Crews are hopeful that a slight chance of precipitation over the weekend will deliver relief to a weary state.
The good news is that two of the largest fires in the state are now nearing toward full containment. The Glass Fire in Napa and Sonoma counties is now 97% contained after destroying over 67,000 acres. The massive August Complex fire is now 86% contained. This historic fire has burned over one million acres, making it the largest wildfire in California state history.
In total, more than 4.1 million acres have been consumed in California over the course of this fire season. 31 lives and over 9,400 structures have been lost this season.