Sunday, June 17, 2012

Colorado wildfire weeks away from containment as conditions worsen

The Guardian (UK): Wildfires continued to rage through northern Colorado on Sunday, having already destroyed the most homes of any wildfire in the state's history. Authorities brought in additional crews over the weekend to battle flames that have scorched about 85 square miles and destroyed at least 181 properties

More than 1,630 personnel are working on the Fort Collins-area fire, officials said in a news release Saturday night. The figure represents a more than doubling of on-duty firefighters from a day earlier. The lightning-caused blaze, which is believed to have killed a 62-year-old woman whose body was found in her cabin, was 20% contained, according to authorities. The fire's incident commander said full containment could be two to four weeks away.

Fire information officer Brett Haberstick said hot and dry conditions were expected to continue, but crews have made progress in containing a 200-acre spot fire that erupted Thursday afternoon north of the Cache La Poudre River, a critical line of defence against northward growth. "Two 20-person hotshot crews worked throughout the day to secure lines around the perimeter of this spot fire," the officials said in a release.

Firefighters have extinguished other incursions north of the river, but the most recent one appeared to be more serious. National Weather Service meteorologist Kyle Fredin said some rain was expected over the weekend, but it will not be enough to put the fire out. "We need a rain that will really last all day," he said. "But it's better than dry wind at this point."

But crews were bracing for difficult conditions Sunday with wind gusts expected to hit 50 mph along ridge tops and in Poudre Canyon and temperatures in the 90s...

Pine Junction, CO, June 12, 2000 -- Along Route 126 south of Pine Junction. By nightfall, the guard rail supports were burning like torches. Photo by Bryan Dahlberg/ FEMA News Photo

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