High Park Fire at 14,000 acres; fighting from air and ground

Tom McGee and Sarah Simmons
The Denver Post
The Denver Post/Helen H. Richardson

LAPORTE – The High Park Fire swept across 14,000 acres with a roar and by Sunday had destroyed at least 18 structures, forced hundreds to flee and spewed smoky plumes that turned the sun blood red and blotted out the Rockies.

But even as more than 250 firefighters battled the blaze northwest of Fort Collins, local officials expressed worries that resources were being stretched thin with fires raging in Wyoming and New Mexico.

“We’re definitely competing with fires in New Mexico and other areas,” said Nick Christensen, an executive officer with the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office.

The Guernsey State Park fire near Wheatland, Wyo., had burned six square miles earlier Sunday. And the Ruidoso fire in New Mexico is at 26,000 acres.

By Sunday afternoon about 2,000 evacuation calls had been made forcing people from homes in Poudre, Rist, Redstone and Mill canyons.

But the fire remained at zero containment with the prospect of growing. Late Sunday afternoon, the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office sent out another 326 emergency calls for homes from Horsetooth Reservoir to Lory State Park.

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