Winds fan blaze, evac­u­a­tions or­dered

Daily Camera (Boulder) - - Local - By Pamela John­son

Winds fanned the Cameron Peak Fire on Sun­day, caus­ing of­fi­cials to or­der new evac­u­a­tions and to pull fire­fight­ers away from the fire perime­ter to a safer area.

About 3:30 p.m., fire of­fi­cials posted on a Face­book page ded­i­cated to pro­vid­ing fire in­for­ma­tion that “gusty winds from the south­west caused the fire to be­come very ac­tive … on the north­west perime­ter.”

The fire grew 1,561 acres on Sun­day mov­ing to the east on the north sec­tion of the fire known as “the thumb” be­cause of its shape on the map. Here the fire crossed a bar­rier made by fire­fight­ers to stop the blaze, known as the Killpecker line, mov­ing about a mile to the north side of South Bald Moun­tain, Cory Carl­son, plan­ning op­er­a­tions trainee, ex­plained in a recorded brief­ing.

“We were able to get large air tankers brought in to help us,” Dave Gesser, in­ci­dent com­man­der, also said in the recorded brief­ing.

“We’ve talked quite a bit about we couldn’t use the air tankers be­cause of the heavy ter­rain, but as the fire moved to the east, we were able to bring in those tankers be­cause we were get­ting into more fa­vor­able con­di­tions.”

This was the sole por­tion of the fire with ma­jor ac­tiv­ity re­ported on Sun­day, an area that Carl­son re­ferred to as “our prob­lem child.”

When the fire ac­tiv­ity grew Sun­day af­ter­noon, manda­tory evac­u­a­tions were or­dered for the Red Feather Lakes and Crys­tal Lakes ar­eas for all res­i­dents and busi­nesses, warn­ing peo­ple to leave as quickly as pos­si­ble due to “im­me­di­ate and im­mi­nent dan­ger.” This in­cluded the Man­hat­tan Road down to Colo. 14 and the Shamb­hala Cen­ter, ac­cord­ing to in­for­ma­tion from no­coalerts.org, the site used to no­tify the com­mu­nity of evac­u­a­tions.

Vol­un­tary evac­u­a­tions, too, were or­dered for the Glacier View fil­ings, in­clud­ing the Lady Moon and Magic Sky Ranch ar­eas.

And the Amer­i­can Red Cross set up an evac­u­a­tion cen­ter at Cache La Poudre Mid­dle School in Laporte.

When the fire moved to the east, fire of­fi­cials pulled crews back from the di­rect perime­ter at “the thumb” to both the Dead­man and Man­hat­tan Roads, the lo­ca­tion of sec­ondary fire breaks cre­ated for this type of sit­u­a­tion and con­sid­ered a safe zone, ac­cord­ing to in­for­ma­tion from fire of­fi­cials.

Ex­tra fire­fight­ers were to be sta­tioned there overnight Sun­day in case the fire again picks back up and makes a run to­ward the evac­u­ated neigh­bor­hoods, Carl­son said.

While fire crews re­mained work­ing on the ground to bat­tle the fire that has been burn­ing since Aug. 13, the team also used he­li­copters and tanker planes on Sun­day. A large he­li­copter, five large air tankers and four small tankers were drop­ping both wa­ter and fire re­tar­dant “to try to slow down the fire spread,” ac­cord­ing to in­for­ma­tion posted by the fire team.

Just af­ter 7 p.m., the fire ac­tiv­ity slowed, Carl­son re­ported in his evening brief­ing.

“As the sun goes down, as the (rel­a­tive hu­mid­ity) is start­ing to go up, as the winds de­crease, the fire has been mod­er­ated,” Carl­son said.

The fire re­mains at 15% con­tained with full con­tain­ment ex­pected Oct. 31.

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