The fire is burning near Chambers Lake in national forest land. A large portion of forest land has been closed meaning there will no access to trails.
LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. — The Cameron Peak Fire which prompted mandatory evacuations Thursday afternoon near Chambers Lake has grown to 4,600 acres as 10:30 p.m. Friday, according to the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO).
Fire officials on Friday evening ordered the area of Long Draw Reservoir, which was previously under voluntary evacuations, to move to mandatory evacuations due to fire activity.
Updated map of the #CameronPeakFire is posted on inciweb. https://t.co/6nUXXvYuTq pic.twitter.com/pAOzIG0Lpo— Canyon Lakes Ranger RD (@usfsclrd) August 15, 2020
During an afternoon briefing, fire managers said there had been “significant fire behavior” and that the fire had likely doubled in size from the day before. As of Friday morning, it was estimated to be 2,179 acres.
Two big factors in the fire’s growth area are beetle kill and very dry conditions. The incident commander estimated that about 80% of the forest has been impacted by beetle kill but also noted that drier up there than he has seen in years.
Firefighters were assisted by several helicopters that made strategic water drops on the fire on Friday. A Type 2 Incident Management Team (IMT) will take over management of the fire Saturday morning in close coordination with local resources.
Fire officials said on Friday afternoon the fire spotted to the south side of Highway 14 is estimated at approximately 100 acres.
The Cameron Peak Fire is burning in an area about 60 miles west of Fort Collins. Firefighters are being assisted by several helicopters and preparing for the arrival of additional resources and the Type 2 Team on Friday.
An emergency alert sent Thursday from LCSO said there is “immediate and imminent danger” from the fire. Notifications for mandatory evacuations went out to more than 700 contacts, but those aren’t individuals, according to the LCSO.
Ther are “very few” houses in that area, according to David Moore, a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office. He said the large numbers of contact is likely because people who camp there have signed up for alerts. A total of 14 campgrounds are closed.
Joseph Vonida with the Colorado National Guard said they are responding to a request from LCSO to assist with a search and rescue operation to locate a family of four, including two children in the area.
Sharing photos from one of our firefighters yesterday. Still waiting on updated acreage this morning. Area closure information will be posted soon. https://t.co/wPmStkHX2r pic.twitter.com/Zn9WEpyqYu— Canyon Lakes Ranger RD (@usfsclrd) August 14, 2020
Anyone in the are area from the intersection of Highway 14 and County Road 103 north to Four Corners, as well as the areas around Chambers Lake should evacuate the area as quickly as possible, the message said.
Due to fire activity and the potential for growth, LCSO is asking people to avoid the Crown Point area, Long Draw area, areas west of Red Feather and south of Deadman, and the southern end of the Laramie River Valley.
The map below shows the areas included in the order. It can also be found here.
Those leaving the area should travel north into Wyoming for safety reasons, according to the message.
Firefighting efforts have closed Colorado Highway 14, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT).
CO 14 EB/WB: Road closed between County Road 36 and Pingree Rd. Highway will remain closed overnight from MM 36 Walden to MM 91 Rustic, no estimated time to reopen Friday, use alternate route. https://t.co/DGBX7LptlF— CDOT (@ColoradoDOT) August 14, 2020
Hwy 14 west is closed in the area and traffic is being allowed to Lake Agnes, American Lakes or Michigan Ditch.
A portion of the Roosevelt National Forest is also closed, including all National Forest System lands west of County Roads 69 and 63E, east of the Colorado State Forest, south of County Road 80 C and north of Rocky Mountain Park.
The closure has impacts on numerous recreation sites, including many trails and trailheads. A number of boating and fishing sites are closed, including Chambers Lake. Picnic Sites closed include Bellaire Lake, Bennett Creek, Cameron Pass, Chambers Lake, Fish Creek and Tunnel.
Campgrounds closed include:
Aspen GlenBellaire LakeBig BendBig SouthBrowns ParkChambers LakeGrandviewJacks GulchLong DrawNorth ForkSleeping ElephantTom Bennett, andTunnel.
Hot dry weather conditions along with gusty winds in the afternoon are expected to be a factor in the afternoon. Wind gusts will be between 15 and 25 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
Numerous aircraft were ordered to assist crews on the ground, but were called back due to high winds on Thursday.
Forty firefighters are working the blaze.
The strong winds and heat have pushed the growth of two of the state’s larger fires which include the Pine Gulch Fire near Grand Junction and the Grizzly Creek Fire just east of Glenwood Springs.