A fire in Colorado, which has been burning since mid-August, broke out again on Saturday amid warm, dry weather and strong winds, prompting new mandatory evacuations, authorities said.
According to the fire service of Cameron Peak, the largest fire in the history of the state, burned 187,537 acres with 57% retention. The flames west of Fort Collins thrived as gusts of wind blew in front of a cold front.
The fire burned so deep in the fall that it snowed more than once, temporarily halting progress, but ultimately having little long-term impact, said Cass Cairns, a spokesman for the multi-agency for the incident.
“It dries very quickly,”
The new evacuations were announced on Saturday from the town of Loveland. The evacuation map appears to cover more than 100 square miles. Larimer County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Jared Kramer said on Saturday that evacuation notices had been sent to 3,000 recipients in the past 24 hours.
A Saturday report from the National Interdepartmental Coordination Center said: “Several communities are threatened.”
Investigators have not established what caused the fire, which began on August 13. D This week’s wind event is the fourth since mid-August, each occurring before a cold front that brought little relief, Cairns said.
Experts say this year’s fires in the West correlate with climate change.
The Colorado fire season usually ends in September, Cairns said. Ski resorts often start opening in October, but this year some will be battling the fire at Cameron Peak.
A spokesman for the Loveland ski area did not respond immediately to a request for information. The resort said in a press release Monday that it received nearly 6 inches of snow on Oct. 11 and was producing artificial dust. It opened on October 25 last year, but no opening date has yet been set for 2020.
The National Weather Service predicts a high temperature of nearly 70 Saturday for Loveland. The agency warned of “dangerous weather” caused by winds up to 50 mph. Rain and snow are possible on Sunday night before warm temperatures are expected to return.
Strong winds kept water-retarding and retarder aircraft on the ground on Saturday, she said.
Cameron Peak’s fire comes during a devastating year for fires in the West, including the August complex fire in California, the largest ever in the country.
The National Interdepartmental Coordination Center said Saturday that 29 large, “unrestricted” wildfires are burning in the United States. In addition to local, state and federal firefighters, U.S. Marines and even Mexican crews have been sent to put out some of them, the statement said.