Cameron Peak fire now 56% contained as the northern edge is secured

Firefighters on the Cameron Peak fire have been working tirelessly on containment lines along the northern side of the massive blaze and total containment is now at 56% as the fire approaches becoming the second largest in state history.

Securing the northern edge of the fire has long been a focus of firefighters and recent gains came as firefighters battled strong, gusty winds and unseasonably warm, dry weather.

“While the entire northern edge of the fire is now in containment, crews will continue to patrol and monitor the area,” fire officials said in a Tuesday update. “Firefighters near Comanche and Hourglass Reservoirs faced challenges due to extreme winds.”

A wind storm is expected tonight in the area and the National Weather Service has posted a High Wind Watch from midnight through Wednesday morning.

West winds will be in the 30-to-50 mph range, with overnight gusts up to 80 mph, according to NWS. Areas of Larimer County, between 6,000 and 9,000 feet in elevation, are under the watch. Rocky Mountain National Park, the Medicine Bow Range and the northern Front Range foothills are included in the watch.

“Tree limbs could be blown down and a few power outages may result,” the weather service said.

There was “little growth” of the fire perimeter on Monday, although there was a “wind-driven run to the east,” firefighters said.

On Monday afternoon the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office lifted the voluntary evacuation status for the Glacier View area.

Containment of the fire jumped from 47% on Monday to 56% Tuesday. The fire has burned 134,960 acres, almost 211 square miles, and it’s currently the third largest fire in state history behind the 2002 Hayman fire, which burned 137,760 acres.

Firefighters are bracing for more wind on Tuesday and a Red Flag Warning for critical fire weather has been posted by the National Weather Service for widespread parts of Colorado including the Cameron Peak fire area. “A combination of strong winds…low relative humidity…and warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior,” the weather service said.

Tuesday’s weather forecast includes high clouds with high temperatures in the area topping out in the mid-50s and the relative humidity at about 20%, weather officials said.

Firefighters on Tuesday continue structure protection improvements in Monument Gulch and along Buckhorn Road. About 850 firefighters continue to work on the fire, which started on Aug.13 about 15 miles southwest of Red Feather Lakes.

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