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Cameron Peak Fire is now the largest wildfire in Colorado history

Cameron Peak Fire is now the largest wildfire in Colorado history
Posted at 11:30 AM, Oct 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-15 13:30:24-04

The Cameron Peak Fire is now the largest wildfire in Colorado's history. It grew overnight and is now 164,140 acres, but it remains 56% contained and no injuries have been reported.

The fire became the largest in Colorado history Wednesday evening. It took only 48 days for the Cameron Peak Fire to surpass the 139,007-acre Pine Gulch Fire as the largest in recorded state history, and also blew past the 137,760-acre Hayman Fire in 2002.

In a Thursday morning update, Operations Section Chief Paul Demerico of Rocky Mountain Team 1 said they are expecting a challenging few days ahead.

"But we have beefed up and feel like we have adequate resources to do what we can, especially when it comes to structure protection," he said.

Several areas near the fire are under mandatory or voluntary evacuations as a result of the blaze. Highway 34 was also temporarily shut down in both directions between Loveland and Estes Park to help with evacuations, but has reopened.

In addition, the Canyon Lakes Ranger District of the Roosevelt National Forest closed Thursday morning. This closure includes recreation sites — including all campgrounds — trails and Forest Service Roads.

View the mandatory evacuations in the map below, or go here for the full list of evacuations and closures.

Demerico said the western side of fire is almost all contained, but the fire was able to run east all the way to County Road 27 thanks to the wind, terrain and dry fuels.

The main objective for the next day or so is to keep the fire south of 44H Buckhorn Road and west of County Road 27, he said.

Winds will continue to be a problem over the next few days, Demerico said. Structure protection resources are scattered around Storm Mountain, Cedar Park, Glen Haven and Estes Park.

The gusts also prevent fire officials from flying aircraft to help fight the blaze from the air.

Larimer County residents may see periods of moderate to heavy smoke in their neighborhoods Thursday, according to the Colorado Air Quality Summary. The smoke may impact Fort Collins and Loveland as well.

The National Weather Service said smoke from both the Cameron Peak Fire and the new East Troublesome Fire in Grand County will move toward Denver Thursday afternoon.

The state's 10 largest wildfires in history, ranked by acreage, are:
1. Cameron Peak Fire (2020): 164,140 acres
2. Pine Gulch Fire (2020): 139,007 acres
3. Hayman Fire (2002): 137,760 acres
4. Spring Fire (2018): 108,045 acres
5. High Park Fire (2012): 87,284 acres
6. Missionary Ridge Fire (2002): 72,962 acres
7. 416 Fire (2018): 54,000 acres
8. Bridger Fire (2008): 45,800 acres
9. Last Chance Fire (2012): 45,000 acres
10. Bear Springs/Callie Marie fires (2011): 44,662 acres
Note: The Rocky Mountain Area Coordination Center said the West Fork Complex fire, which burned a total of 109,632 acres in 2013, is not included on this list since it involved three separate fires.

This story was originally published by Stephanie Butzer at KMGH.