Summit County firefighting teams on standby to help with High Park fire
Ryan Summerlin June 10, 2012
Local fire departments are standing by to send teams to assist with the High Park fire, which exploded to more than 14,000 acres on Sunday.
At least 18 structures have been burned by the blaze tearing across Larimer County northwest of Fort Collins and hundreds have been evacuated.
The fire ignited Saturday morning, while most of the state went on high alert as humidity dipped to below 10 percent in some areas and wind picked up making for ideal conditions to feed a wildfire.
Summit County’s fire danger rating is set to “very high,” the second highest classification, but the county is no longer under a red flag warning, as humidity crept up Sunday and high temperatures fell 15 degrees.
“If it stays like this – the humidity’s come up a little bit because of cooler temperatures – that helps with the fire danger,” Red, White and Blue Fire chief Lori Miller said Sunday.
Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue and Red, White and Blue were preparing to possibly send teams to help fight the blaze.
“We’re on standby and ready to assist them if they need more help,” Lake Dillon deputy chief Jeff Berino said. “We’ve got to balance it with Summit County being really dry too. We don’t want to strip local resources.”
Approximately one third of all heavy, aerial firefighting equipment in the country was being directed toward the blaze Sunday, Gov. John Hickenlooper told reporters.
The blaze is spreading quickly through landscape similar to Summit County’s, with steep hills and stands of trees impacted by beetlekill.
While local fire officials were hesitant to comment on the conditions of the fire, they did note that the lower altitude in Larimer County might make a blaze more aggressive than it would be in Summit.
“You get a little different fire behavior the higher you go,” Miller said.