CAMERON PEAK FIRE INFORMATION

Cameron Peak Fire Update September 22, 2020

 

The Cameron Peak fire is now at 104,530 acres and 15% containment. There are crews working on the fire day and night, with large air tankers making nearly continuous runs, dropping retardant on the edges of the fire in an effort to slow it down enough for fire crews to be able to put in containment lines.
 
On the afternoon of September 20th, high winds pushed the "thumb" of the fire northeast towards Manhattan Road and 74E. The fire burned up and around South Bald Mountain and crossed the Kilpecker containment line. This activated one of the trigger points for mandatory evacuation of the Crystal Lakes and Red Feather Lakes communities, and the sheriff's department ordered those evacuations a little after 3:00 that afternoon. Sheriff's department personnel fanned out across both communities, making sure everyone received the evacuation notice, while Crystal Lakes and Red Feather Lakes firefighters responded to patrol the Deadman/74E/73C area, watching for any sign of the fire moving into these areas and prepared to extinguish any spot fires. This effort was aided by responders from Glacier View, Poudre Canyon, and Livermore, in addition to the engines from agencies farther afield that were called in to assist firefighting efforts. Yesterday, again joined by outside agencies, Crystal Lakes firefighters patrolled from Deadman Road up into the southern and western parts of the 9th and 14th filings, while Red Feather, Poudre Canyon, Glacier View, and Livermore firefighters patrolled from Deadman Road east along 74E.
 
The calmer weather today has allowed the volunteer responders to take a breather, while the firefighters working for the fire management team continue to attack the fire as directly as possible. It's not common to put firefighters on a fire at night due to the hazards created by working in the dark, but firefighters worked on the thumb area of the fire Sunday and Monday nights, taking advantage of calmer nighttime fire behavior to put in containment lines as close to the fire's edge as they could safely work. Large air tankers have also been working nearly continuously on the fire, dropping thousands of gallons of retardant on the fire's edge to slow its growth and make it possible for firefighters to work close to it. The expansion of the fire has put parts of it in areas where it's easier to attack directly and where retardant drops are able to penetrate all the way to the ground.
 
With a weather system moving in over the next couple of days, winds are expected to pick up significantly, with forecasts of 20 mph for Wednesday and Thursday and Friday's sustained winds hitting 25+ with gusts up to 40 mph. This has the potential to move the thumb of the fire further northeast, which could threaten Red Feather Lakes and cut off the primary road out of Crystal Lakes. There's also the potential of it moving into Crystal itself, depending on terrain and wind direction. The fire's nearest edge is approximately 3.75 miles from the corner of Deadman Rd and 74E, and it's approximately 3.5 miles from the south edge of Crystal Lakes. While there are still several containment lines in place between the fire's currently location and the Crystal Lakes area, if you have not already evacuated, it would be advisable to do so.
 
Firefighters are making every effort to contain this fire and stop it from spreading further, but we've seen how a wind-driven fire can blow past containment lines, so please make informed decisions erring on the side of caution.
 
Thanks and stay safe!

Marian Kelly
Assistant Chief
Crystal Lakes Volunteer Fire Department

 

 

Cameron Peak Fire Update September 18, 2020

 

Thanks to relatively stable weather conditions, the total acreage of the fire has not increased in recent days, and containment is up to 15%, primarily due to completing firelines in the Pingree Park Road area. The "thumb," the area closest to us, continues to be the most active part of the fire, and helicopters have been dropping water and retardant on it to allow firefighters to continue digging fireline in the area. The terrain there is rough, making that effort arduous and slow-going, so they've also been working on indirect containment lines between us and that area.
 
The most recent public Situation Report from the county is here: 

EOC SItuation Report.Cameron Peak 9.17.2[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [240.8 KB]

We've also been asked to share with you that CSU Extension is hosting a speaker series in October called Wildfire Wednesdays.  Every Wednesday in October, they'll offer a free virtual webinar highlighting a relevant topic related to wildfire. Topics include fire behavior and ecology, home hardening and defensible space, fire resistant landscaping, and evacuation planning for you and your animals. Speakers are experts in their field from Colorado State University, Colorado State Forest Service, and Colorado State University Extension. Whether you live in the mountains, foothills or plains, this series will provide information on wildfire and how to manage your property to provide the best chance for limiting damage. For more, see this flyer:

WildfireWednesday_promo.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [590.0 KB]

The current forecast is for a weather system to move in over the weekend, bringing with it the chance of rain and the certainty of high winds that may test the containment lines around the fire. Please continue to be aware of conditions and prepared for the possibility of evacuation.

 
Thanks and stay safe!

Marian Kelly
Assistant Chief
Crystal Lakes Volunteer Fire Department

 

 

Cameron Peak Fire Update September 16, 2020

 

As of the most recent reporting this morning, the footprint and overall acreage of the Cameron Peak fire have not changed. Firefighters have managed to get the containment up to 8% and are still working on firelines wherever possible. Some of these lines are directly along the fire's edge and some are indirect, depending on the terrain, the fuels, and the difficulty of reaching certain areas.
 
Fire activity is expect to increase, with warmer, drier weather expected as the week progresses. Saturday may see both an increase in strong, gusty winds and the possibility for some rainfall.
 
The northeast section of the finger of fire that spread in our direction (which fire managers are calling the thumb) is not yet nailed down and was fairly active yesterday. They were able to put in dozer line around the western and northwestern perimeter of the thumb, but hit a point where the terrain made it impossible for their equipment to continue working in the area. A hotshot crew is currently looking for containment options accessible to hand crews. Five helicopters spent all day yesterday putting water on where this section was flaring up and managed to keep it mostly where it was for now. It's still on the opposite side of the Killpecker containment line from us, and they're also working on beefing up the Deadman and Manhattan lines in case the fire becomes wind-driven again and crosses Killpecker. As I've mentioned previously, much of the thumb section is burning in rough terrain and heavy fuels, which is making direct attack in some areas difficult to impossible; however, firefightes are putting significant effort into trying to either stop that section of the fire or create more than one containment line to increase the chances of stopping it if it makes a run towards our area.
 
In the Facebook updates (which are very informative and I strongly suggest watching if you haven't been - you do not need to have a Facebook login to view them, just choose "not now" when it prompts you to log in), there have been references to crews doing structure protection in Crystal Lakes, Red Feather, and Glacier View. To clear up some confusion on that, this is not focused on individual properties but is, instead, a broader effort intended to protect the whole community. In Red Feather Lakes, they're working on creating firelines closer in to Red Feather itself. In Crystal Lakes, they're working on connecting the fireline created early on -- which begins in Beaver Meadows and moves around its southwest corner and over to connect with Pearl Beaver Road -- down through Tiny Bob and the Jenny Creek area to create a continuous line that protects the lower filings as well. To clarify, this structure protection work is not connected to an earlier effort, mentioned by the NIMO representative at our mitigation workshop on August 29th, to arrange mitigation work on individual properties in Crystal Lakes, which was something the USFS was ultimately unable to arrange before the fire blew up and the resources were needed elsewhere.
 
Please continue to stay informed, be vigilant, and be prepared to evacuate. Our situation has improved significantly due to the snowstorm, but the fire will continue to be a threat until we see a long-term change in the weather.

 

Thanks and be safe!

Marian Kelly
Assistant Chief
Crystal Lakes Volunteer Fire Department

 

 

Cameron Peak Fire Update September 12, 2020

 

My apologies for the irregular posting of updates on the fire situation -- I try to avoid too much repetition of information you can get from Inciweb (https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6964/) and the fire Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/CameronPeakFire), and therefore hold off on sending out a group email until I have information that's not too redundant. In addition, recent weather conditions have resulted in there being little new information to share for several days.
 
If you don't have easy access to Inciweb or Facebook, or if you prefer receiving your information the old fashioned way, the Public Information Office is maintaining information boards at Basecamp and the Trading Post and helping CLVFD keep the information on the announcement board by the door of the fire station current. They typically update these every morning.
 
The Cameron Peak Fire is still listed at 102,668 acres as of this morning. This is likely to change now that the snow is melting off and the weather is warming up. Fire managers are working on locating the new edges of the fire (an effort that has been hampered by snow cover) and determining the best way to fight it when it begins picking up again as the weather warms up and the fuels dry out. They're hoping that the breather the snow gave us will allow them to safely fight the fire more directly.
 
Unfortunately, the finger of the fire that extended to the northeast during the huge runs it was making over the holiday weekend moved the fire edge from approximately fifteen miles from the Crystal Lakes/Red Feather Lakes area to approximately seven. Much of this northwest area of the fire is in the same rugged, heavily timbered terrain that was making fighting the fire so difficult before the snow, and this area got less snow than other areas of the fire. This means it has the potential to pick up significantly with the warmer weather. In addition, long-range forecasts indicate that this fall will be hotter and drier than average. Which, if you consider how dry fall typically is here, is not good news.
 
There have been, over the course of the last couple of weeks, many questions about how the fire is being fought and why it wasn't extinguished early on, etc. The Cameron Peak Fire management team has shared some answers to these questions on their Facebook page and in other updates, but I thought it might be useful to draw these answers together for those unable to access them directly and perhaps expand on them a bit.
 
Why didn't they put the fire out right away?
 
The fire management team wants this fire out just as much as we do. They're not delaying, holding back, or trying to use it to burn up fuel in the area. It's their job to stop the fire, but they must do so in a way that's safe for the firefighters working the fire. Before the snowstorm, it wasn't possible to put firefighters on the fire directly because it's burning in heavy timber and rugged terrain. We've all heard that explanation, but what precisely does that mean? In part, it means that the terrain is too steep and too densely forested in many places for firefighters to be able to safely access or work, and in part it means that fire behavior is unpredictable in these conditions and could easily trap and kill firefighters.
 
Wildland fires are primarily fought either directly or indirectly. Fighting directly means putting firefighters near the fire, where they dig fireline (creating a fuel-free zone along the edge of the fire that's typically several feet, or more, wide) from the heel of the fire (the area it's moving away from) up each flank toward the head (the direction it's running) until the fire is ultimately entirely contained by fireline. Firefighters can't safely be put directly in front of any wildfire because it has the potential to move too quickly. Instead, the fireline that goes in ahead of a wildfire has to be done indirectly -- at a distance from the fire, so it can be completed and the firefighters can withdraw before the fire reaches it. The taller and heavier the fuels are, the wider the fireline has to be to have a chance of stopping the fire when it reaches the line (lines being put in for this fire are up to 300 feet wide), and all bets are off if the fire is wind-driven when it reaches containment lines. Wind not only increases fire intensity, it can create ember storms, in which embers and firebrands are picked up and blown ahead of the fire, often by miles, starting new fires where they land.
 
There are situations (such as on this fire) where firefighters are not only unable to dig fireline directly at the fire's head but cannot go direct at all. This happens when fire behavior is so intense and/or unpredictable that even the heel and flanks of the fire are dangerous to be around. Wildfires burn incredibly hot (between 1500 and 2200 degrees), and firefighters can only work in close proximity to a wildfire that's creating flame lengths less than four feet high. Vehicles, like dozers, can work near flame lengths of up to eight feet. Anything beyond that has to be fought indirectly because people simply cannot survive the high temperatures. Flame length is a function, in part, of the height of the fuels, and this fire is burning in mature trees and was, before the snow, creating flames well over the maximum height that either firefighters or firefighting vehicles can work near.
 
In addition, lodgepole pine, in which the Cameron Peak fire is primarily burning, is notorious for producing ember storms, creating spot fires well ahead of the main body of the fire. This fire behavior, which they were seeing regularly on the fire before the snow, has the potential to trap any firefighters trying to create fireline near the main body of the fire between that fire and a spot fire.
 
Finally, the fact that the fire is burning in rugged terrain increases the intensity of fire behavior. Fire burns faster uphill, its rate of spread increasing with the increasing steepness of the slope. Terrain features like saddles and chimneys augment this effect by channeling heat and wind. The more rugged the terrain, the faster the fire can move, even before the wind is taken into account. In addition to making the fire more unpredictable, this also means that firefighters may be literally unable to get out of the fire's way fast enough.
 
Okay, so they have to fight indirectly. But why are the firelines they're building so far from the fire?
 
This is a direct result of the rugged terrain and the thickness of the timber stands in the fire area. There are few areas that are clear enough to make it possible to build a fireline wide enough to have a chance of stopping this fire and accessible enough for firefighters and equipment to be able to get to them. In addition, the prevalence of beetle-killed timber in the area makes working there unsafe, with the large number of dead trees presenting fall hazards to anyone working in the area. In this terrain and with these fuels, roads are the only really accessible, available areas where firelines can be built (typically by widening and connecting them), and there are a limited number of roads through the fire area, especially between the fire and the Crystal Lakes/Red Feather lakes area. Rather than put firefighters in dangerous conditions where they'll struggle to build fireline that might not be completed before the fire reaches it (and may too narrow to hold even if it is completed), fire managers decided that their best option for success was to move out to areas where they could build strong lines safely and get them completed before they were overrun by the fire. This calculation has been changed somewhat by the lessening of fire intensity caused by the recent snow, and they're currently looking for closer locations that they might be able to build lines.
 
Why aren't they using all those helicopters they've got parked down the hill to lay down firelines? Or even to put the fire out?
 
Second question first -- water isn't typically a useful tool for extinguishing wildfires because of their size and temperature. There's so much heat involved that, in any wildfire over a couple of acres and especially any fire burning in timber, it would take far more water to extinguish the fire than can reasonably be brought in.
 
Fire retardant is a useful additive that alters how effective fire is at burning the fuels the retardant has landed on, which can decrease fire intensity and slow its advance, but it cannot put fire out. It only suppresses fire activity in an area temporarily -- it's the work of firefighters in creating firelines that contains and ultimate extinguishes wildfires, rather than retardant drops. Retardant is used to make it possible for firefighters to safely work closer to the edge of the fire, and dropping it in an area where firefighters are unable to work is a waste of retardant, fuel, and manpower. In addition, even if laying down enough water and retardant could extinguish the fire, it's burning in areas that are so heavily wooded that the majority of the retardant is caught in the canopy and never reaches the ground, where the bulk of the fire in burning. This effect is also why the recent snowfall has slowed the fire but not extinguished it -- a significant percentage of the snow never made it down to the ground where the fire is burning.
 
 
Fire managers are working to find places closer to the edges of the fire where they can build fireline and are also working on additional firelines (and beefing up existing firelines) between the fire and the Crystal Lakes/Red Feather Lakes area. The weather system this last week has given us a breather and firefighters a chance of catching this thing, but it's still a threat to us and we all need to remain vigilant and prepared to evacuate.

Be smart, keep informed, and stay safe!  


Marian Kelly
Assistant Chief
Crystal Lakes Volunteer Fire Department

 

Cameron Peak Fire Update September 8, 2020

 

The fire is now at over 102,000 acres and is the largest in Larimer County history, surpassing the High Park Fire. It's at approximately 4% containment, due to an area on the western flank where the fire's reached treeline and run out of fuel to burn. Fire management has been split into two zones - the south zone, which is focused on Rocky Mountain Park and the Estes Park area, and the north zone, which covers the rest of the fire operations. Current and expected snowfall is mitigating the fire's behavior and will hopefully continue to do so for several days before it begins warming up and fire behavior picks up again.
 
Due to the extreme fire behavior yesterday (the fire ran ten miles in twenty-four hours, increasing by 50,000 acres and doubling in size), the Crystal Lakes and Red Feather Lakes areas were moved up to mandatory evacuation yesterday evening. Evacuations were triggered by the extreme and unpredictable fire behavior, driven by strong, erratic winds, and a northeast run by a finger of fire that crossed Hwy 14 and moved through the Green Ridge area, crossing the Roaring Creek drainage. Even though snow was predicted for last night and today, the weather wasn't expected to move in until around ten p.m. yesterday, and the sheriff's department wasn't willing to take the chance that the fire wouldn't make another extensive run into our area (or blocking off our escape route) before then. As it happened, we were lucky and conditions calmed without such a run taking place, which is why evacuations were downgraded back to voluntary this morning. Despite the slight improvement to our situation, if you've got somewhere else you can be at this time, it would be better for you to stay there, rather than come back up the mountain.
 
There have been some questions about why we didn't set off the community sirens when mandatory evacuation orders were issued. After reviewing the situation and the sheriff's advice about community risk, CLVFD determined that community members were not in the kind of imminent danger that the sirens are intended for. We've always told the community that the sirens mean to drop everything and get out immediately because to delay would mean risking life and limb. Because of the sheriff department's determination to ensure that evacuations are triggered early enough to ensure that people can get out safely, we were not in a situation where an imminent life-threat existed, and we did not want to risk creating such a threat by causing any panic in the community by use of the sirens. We are currently reserving the siren use for if/when the fire is directly on our border and creating an imminent threat to the safety of anyone still in the community. As a result, if you evacuate when mandatory evacuation orders are issued, you will most likely not hear the sirens during the Cameron Peak Fire unless extreme fire behavior creates a rapid and unexpected run into the area.
 
The evacuation protocols that we've generated and shared with the community are predicated on our dealing with a fire either inside Crystal Lakes or immediately on our borders that requires CLVFD to manage all parts of the initial evacuation. As it happens, in this situation, it is the Larimer Sheriff's Department that is determining things like trigger points, how evacuation notices are issued, and what kind of fire department response is necessary to ensure community safety during evacuation. This has resulted in some of the evacuation steps happening in ways we did not know to prepare the community for. The sirens are still an important tool in our community safety plan, as an augmentation to and backup for LETA alerts, and if you hear the sirens, the protocol is still to leave the area immediately.
 
Despite the downgrading of our evacuation status to voluntary and despite the snow, please do not get complacent and do not be any less prepared to evacuate. The fire, the weather, and the situation are volatile and this is, unfortunately, not over yet.

Be smart, keep informed, and stay safe!  


Marian Kelly
Assistant Chief
Crystal Lakes Volunteer Fire Department

 

Cameron Peak Fire Update September 4, 2020
 

Good evening!
 
The Cameron Peak fire is currently just under 24,000 acres, with growth remaining relatively slow until yesterday.  Warmer, dryer weather this weekend is expected to drive increased fire activity, with more smoke and the potential for growth.  A significant change in the weather Monday and Tuesday, creating a severe drop in temperature and the possibility of snow, will likely slow fire growth again; however, it's not expected to be enough to extinguish the fire and the forecast is for a warm-up after that.  So please continue to be prepared for evacuation -- both fire and weather can be unpredictable, and things have the potential to change very quickly as conditions change.
 
The Office of Emergency Management has provided us with a new situation report, which is linked here for your information: 

EOC Situation Report 9.4.2020 Combined.p[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [220.6 KB]

This is a combined report, containing both information on the Cameron Peak fire and an update on COVID-19 in Larimer County.  
 
A state-wide fire ban remains in effect. If it doesn't have an "off" switch, DO NOT light it.
 
Please enjoy your holiday weekend safely and responsibly. 
 
Thanks! 

Marian Kelly
Assistant Chief
Crystal Lakes Volunteer Fire Department

 

 

Cameron Peak Fire Update August 30, 2020

 

On Friday afternoon, representatives of the mountain fire departments met with Larimer County Emergency Services (LCES) and members of the National Incident Management Organization (NIMO) team handling the Cameron Peak fire. Chief Rode and I were there on behalf of Crystal Lakes VFD, attending along with chief officers from Red Feather, Glacier View, Poudre Canyon, and Rist Canyon VFDs. LCES and the NIMO team updated us on current and expected fire behavior and asked us to share the following information and advice with our community.

 

While the fire hasn't grown as fast as it was in the beginning, when we were advised that evacuation was imminent, and we've had some cooler weather in the last couple of days that slowed fire growth somewhat, we are very far from being out of the woods. The fire is burning in fuels and terrain that make fighting it directly impossible (I'll be posting something in a day or so explaining this in more detail), and firefighters have been focusing on creating indirect containment lines that are some distance from the fire's edge (this is both to ensure firefighter safety and because the terrain closer to the fire does not permit them to build effective containment lines). The combination of the terrain and the heavy timber make it extremely unlikely that the fire will be extinguished until we get some serious snow, and current long-range forecasts suggest that that may not happen this year until November.

 

This is an extremely volatile, hard-to-predict situation that can change quickly, either as a result of an alteration in the weather pattern or a new fire start closer to our area. Despite the better weather, evacuation is still very likely at some point, so please continue to be prepared to leave. Anyone who's already removed their camper or large-animal trailer from the area is advised to keep it off the mountain -- such vehicles have the potential to create dangerous traffic jams during evacuation. There are otherwise no bars to coming and going from our area as you find necessary. If you haven't already signed up to receive emergency notifications at https://nocoalert.org, you should do so before returning to the mountain so you can be assured of receiving evacuation notices as soon as they're issued.

 

Everyone is strongly encouraged to take advantage of the time the slower fire growth has offered us to mitigate your property. If you haven't begun work to mitigate your property, it's time to get started (even as simple a step as cleaning out your gutters and raking pine needles away from your house can have a significant impact on its defensibility). If you've done some mitigation work, now's the time to expand on your efforts, recheck the work you've already done, and ensure you've done everything you can. Firefighters are doing and will continue to do everything they can to keep this fire out of our communities, but there are no guarantees, and property owners must do their part to help make their homes and lots defensible.

 

The Crystal Lakes VFD has a mitigation checklist posted on our website, along with a number of links to mitigation advice, here: https://www.clvfd.org/community/fire-mitigation.

 

The most recent public Situation Report from the county is here:

EOC_SItuation_Report.Cameron_Peak_8.28.2[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [248.7 KB]

This is an ongoing, evolving situation, and we absolutely understand how difficult it is to be in this limbo, with information and advice changing as the situation changes. We're property owners too and stuck in the same limbo. We're committed to continuing to share the information we receive and keeping our community both up-to-date and safe. We'll get through this together.

 

Thanks and stay safe!

 

Marian Kelly

Assistant Chief

Crystal Lakes Volunteer Fire Department

 

 

Cameron Peak Fire Update August 24, 2020

 

Good evening!

 

The Cameron Peak fire is currently a little over 20,000 acres, with growth remaining relatively slow.  In addition to smoke from that fire, we're getting smoke from the Lewstone fire near Bellevue (currently at 165 acres), other fires in Colorado, and the massive wildfires in California.  Larimer County is producing regular smoke reports to alert residents to unhealthy levels of smoke, which are posted on the Facebook page for the fire (https://www.facebook.com/CameronPeakFire/).  Please continue to be prepared for evacuation -- both fire and weather can be unpredictable, and things may change very quickly when conditions change.

 

The Office of Emergency Management has provided us with a new situation report, which is linked here for your information: 

EOC SItuation Report Cameron Peak Wildfi[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [258.6 KB]

The report contains information about both the Cameron Peak fire and the Lewstone fire.

 

Thanks and stay safe!

 

Marian Kelly

Assistant Chief

Crystal Lakes Volunteer Fire Department

 

 

Cameron Peak Fire Update August 21, 2020

 

Good morning!

 

The weather the last couple of days has helped firefighters keep the Cameron Peak fire to just shy of 16,500 acres, with limited recent growth.  However, the weather is expected to warm up with clearer skies today, which will increase fire behavior.  Please continue to be prepared for evacuation -- the better weather has delayed the need for us to leave the area but not removed it entirely. Both fire and weather can be unpredictable, and things may change very quickly when conditions change.

 

The Office of Emergency Management has provided us with a new situation report, which is linked here for your information: 

EOC SItuation Report Cameron Peak Wildfi[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [209.6 KB]

One final note:  I've been advising people to move grill-size propane tanks indoors during an evacuation and have now determined that that's old advice that's since been updated. When you leave, if you're leaving during voluntary evacuation, please take your propane tank with you if possible. If you cannot do that or you're leaving under mandatory evacuation orders, put your propane tank at least fifteen feet away from your house and any flammable materials. My apologies for not catching this change in evacuation advice earlier.

 

Thanks and stay safe!

 

Marian Kelly

Assistant Chief

Crystal Lakes Volunteer Fire Department

 

 

Credentialing update August 19, 2020

 

We've received additional information regarding credentialing, which the Larimer Office of Emergency Management has asked us to share with you.

 

If you didn't get your credentials today, DO NOT WORRY -- they will definitely be setting up more opportunities for those who need credentials to get them. More information will come out about that after Friday, when they know more about the fire progression. 

 

They've posted more information on their website, here: https://www.larimer.org/cameron-peak-fire and there's an email address posted there that you can use to ask your question if it's not answered by the information they've posted.

 

Thanks and stay safe!

 

Marian Kelly

Assistant Chief

Crystal Lakes Volunteer Fire Department

 

 

Cameron Peak Fire Update August 19, 2020

 

As of the most recent update, the Cameron Peak fire was at 15,738 acres earlier today.  Thunderstorms moved into the area, bringing high, changeable winds, but thankfully also produced some rain.  It's unlikely to have been enough to have a significant impact on the fire but may have helped prevent new fires starting from lightning strikes.

 

-- The following are some useful phone numbers for requesting assistance or getting information:

 

 -   For fire information, call 970-541-1008

 

 -   For Shelter assistance or if you cannot self evacuate, call (970) 498-7120

 

 -   For all other questions, please contact the Public Information Office at (970) 980-2501

 

 

-- The following is a consolidated list of helpful links for keeping updated on fire conditions and plans:

 

-   https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6964/  -- US Forest Service website with details on the specific incident.  Usually updated twice a day (AM and PM).

 -   https://m.facebook.com/CameronPeakFire/  -- USFS gives daily update briefings here at 5:30 PM.  You do not have to be a member of Facebook to use this link.  Really good info here.

 -   https://nocoalert.org/  -- Larimer County website listing current emergency alerts.  You can also sign up for alerts here via text, email and phone.   It's VERY important to sign up, as this is the primary means that Larimer County will use to send emergency alerts (such as evacuation notices) to individuals.

 -   https://www.clvfd.org/   -- Crystal Lakes VFD website.  Go to the middle of the HOME page to the box entitled "CLICK HERE TO JOIN OUR EMAIL LIST" to receive updates sent out by the CLVFD.

 -   https://www.clvfd.org/app/download/7249154022/EVACUATION+ADVICE.pdf -- This is a direct link to CLVFD's advice on evacuation.

 

We'll do our best to keep you updated as we receive information, and will continue to do so for as long as we're available to disseminate information. Once we're tied in to fighting the fire or evacuating the community, much of your information about the fire will need to come from the above resources or LCES.

 

Thanks and stay safe!

 

Marian Kelly

Assistant Chief

Crystal Lakes Volunteer Fire Department

 

 

Cameron Peak Fire & evacuation information update August 18, 2020

 

Today, the chiefs of the mountain fire department met again with Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith and Larimer County Emergency Services (LCES) to receive an update on the progress of the fire and the plans in place to fight it. As a result, we have the following updated information to share with the community.

 

-- As of today, Larimer County is under a full fire ban. If it doesn't have an "off" switch, DO NOT light it. There's reason to believe that the entire state will soon be placed under a full fire ban.

 

-- Significant firefighting efforts and relatively calm weather have allowed the fire management team to keep the fire to a little over 14,000 acres as of this morning. However, the weather started changing this afternoon, and increased thunderstorm activity is forecast for tomorrow afternoon, with a red flag warning issued for that period. As a result, fire activity will likely pick up, pushing increased fire spread.

 

-- The weather and slow growth of the fire over the last couple of days have kept our area from needing to be evacuated so far, but we cannot rely on this continuing. We've avoided the imminent evacuation that we were warned about a couple of days ago, but we're very far from being out of the woods. No one should get complacent or assume that just because we haven't yet evacuated, we won't need to. Barring a sudden positive change in the weather, it's more a matter of when than if it will happen. If you've already moved your belongings and yourself out of the area, you should stay out of the area. If you desperately need to come up to get some things, now's the time to do it -- do not wait. Do not plan to come up this weekend for recreational purposes.

 

-- If possible (ie - if the fire doesn't jump past their initial trigger point), LCES will issue voluntary evacuation orders first. Everyone is advised to leave at that time so they can do so calmly and safely. During the voluntary evacuation, people will not be prevented from returning to or coming into the area. So when you leave, you will be able to return and you may not want to follow the "put a white towel on the doorknob to show you're out" advice in our general evacuation advice.

 

-- If/when we move to mandatory evacuation orders, no one will be permitted to come into the area except those with credentials showing they're part of firefighting efforts. In addition to issuing notices via reverse 911 and LETA, personnel from CLVFD, RFLVFD, LCES, and possibly other area fire department will go door to door to make sure everyone's received the notice. If you choose not to leave at that time, you need to make an informed decision and be aware that none of the responding agencies will have the available resources to rescue you later.

 

-- Today's public situation report from the Larimer County Office of Emergency Management, including information on steps taken so far, plans for evacuation, shelter during evacuation, and small and large animal shelter, is here: 

EOC SItuation Report.Cameron Peak 8.18.2[...]
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-- The following is a consolidated list of helpful links for keeping updated on fire conditions and plans:

 

 -   https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6964/  -- US Forest Service website with details on the specific incident.  Usually updated twice a day (AM and PM).

 -   https://m.facebook.com/CameronPeakFire/  -- USFS gives daily update briefings here at 5:30 PM.  You do not have to be a member of Facebook to use this link.  Really good info here.

 -   https://nocoalert.org/  -- Larimer County website listing current emergency alerts.  You can also sign up for alerts here via text, email and phone.   It's VERY important to sign up, as this is the primary means that Larimer County will use to send emergency alerts (such as evacuation notices) to individuals.

 -   https://www.clvfd.org/   -- Crystal Lakes VFD website.  Go to the middle of the HOME page to the box entitled "CLICK HERE TO JOIN OUR EMAIL LIST" to receive updates sent out by the CLVFD.

 -   https://www.clvfd.org/app/download/7249154022/EVACUATION+ADVICE.pdf -- This is a direct link to CLVFD's advice on evacuation.

 

We'll do our best to keep you updated as we receive information, and will continue to do so for as long as we're available to disseminate information. Once we're tied in to fighting the fire or evacuating the community, much of your information about the fire will need to come from the above resources or LCES.

 

Thanks and stay safe!

 

Marian Kelly

Assistant Chief

Crystal Lakes Volunteer Fire Department

 

 

Notice of Potential Evacuation Orders August 16, 2020

 

Good afternoon -

 

My apologies for sending out three updates today -- unfortunately, information is not coming in all at once.

 

The chief officers of all the mountain fire departments met this afternoon with Larimer County Emergency Services to get up to speed on their plan for responding to the Cameron Peak Fire. This is going to be a long haul, as the location and conditions under which the fire is burning make fighting it a difficult and lengthy process, but the fire managers have detailed and concrete plans in place for what steps they will be taking to prevent it from entering our communities.

 

The most immediate and important thing for everyone in the community to know is that it's very likely that Crystal Lakes and Red Feather Lakes will be under at least voluntary evacuation within the week. It's possible that mandatory evacuation will follow fairly soon thereafter. Out of an abundance of caution, the team managing the fire have set their trigger points for evacuating our communities early to ensure that evacuation can be managed safely and everyone will be out of the path of the fire well before it's actually threatening our community. This allows us to evacuate calmly and safely under good conditions and, as much as possible, in daylight. This is not something to panic about. It's a precautionary measure to ensure everyone's safety.

 

What this means for you is that you should begin preparing for evacuation now. Pack up the things you want to take with you, start packing them in your car, and make arrangements for where you'll go (the county has plans in place to house those who don't have anywhere to go, so if that's you, don't worry about it at this time - directions will be provided when an evacuation is called). Plan for an extended evacuation -- due to the difficulty of fighting this fire and the early trigger point for evacuation, we may be under evacuation orders for weeks, so pack to stay away for an extended period. Also, remove the food from your refrigerator and freezer in case the power is has to be cut at some point during the evacuation (so the spoilage doesn't ruin your appliances). If you have somewhere else to go, we recommend evacuation as soon as possible and not waiting for the order to be issued.

 

You'll be notified of an evacuation order by reverse 911 to landlines and call or text notifications to your cellphones. If you haven't already, sign up now at https://nocoalert.org/ or https://leta911.org/ to receive those calls or texts. In addition, the sheriff's department and your fire department will make every effort to spread the word from property to property (driving the roads with loudspeakers and going door-to-door where feasible). If/when the evacuation order switches from voluntary to mandatory, the Crystal Lakes sirens will be sounded.

 

Again, this is not a sign that the fire will definitely and directly impact our community - it is your emergency service agencies working overtime to ensure that you're not in the fire's path if and when it does.

 

Thanks and stay safe!

 

Mark Rode

Fire Chief

Crystal Lakes Volunteer Fire Department

 

 

Cameron Peak Fire Update August 16, 2020

 

Good morning --

 

The Cameron Peak fire grew to just over 10,000 acres yesterday with 0% containment. Because the fire is burning in heavy timber, firefighters can't safely attack it directly (people can't safely work near wildfires with flame lengths that are larger than four feet tall, which are what they're dealing with in the trees), so they're focusing on protecting structures and campgrounds in the area of the fire and establishing and widening containment lines far enough away from the fire's edge that they can work there safely. They're using heavy equipment to remove fuels and widen the fuel breaks created by Deadmahttps://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6964/ n and Pearl Beaver Roads.

 

Tonight at 5:30, there will be a live update on the Facebook page set up to disseminate information about the fire, which you can attend here:   https://m.facebook.com/CameronPeakFire/   

 

You can keep up to date on what the fire is doing by checking Inciweb, here: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6964/  

 

If you're not already signed up to receive reverse 911 calls to your cellphone, please do so right away at https://nocoalert.org/   If you've already signed up through leta911.org, then you're fine -- the NoCoAlert site leads to the same signup but makes more information available, including the ability to look at recent alerts and check maps of evacuation areas.  NoCoAlert has occasionally been overloaded recently, so if you're not yet signed up to receive reverse 911 calls and can't get on NoCoAlert, go to leta911.org to get signed up.

 

Thanks and stay safe!

 

Marian Kelly

Assistant Chief

Crystal Lakes Volunteer Fire Department

 

 

Cameron Peak Fire Update August 15, 2020

 

Good evening --

 

Here's what we know about the Cameron Peak fire tonight.

 

The Type 2 management team is in place and took over this morning.  They had around 120 people working on the fire today, along with several helicopters making water and slurry drops.  It's burning in heavy timber and rough terrain, making it difficult to get firefighters on the fire safely.  The size is currently listed as a little over 5400 acres, but that will likely increase once they get a fly-over of the fire this evening and are able to accurately measure its spread.  More information on that will likely be posted on Inciweb either later tonight or in the morning. 

 

You can keep up to date on what the fire is doing by checking Inciweb, here: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6964/  

 

In addition, they're set up an official Facebook page to supplement Inciweb and are posting videos and helpful information.  You can visit the page here:  https://m.facebook.com/CameronPeakFire/ 

 

If you're not already signed up to receive reverse 911 calls to your cellphone, please do so right away at https://nocoalert.org/   If you've already signed up through leta911.org, then you're fine -- the NoCoAlert site leads to the same signup but makes more information available, including the ability to look at recent alerts and check maps of evacuation areas.  NoCoAlert has occasionally been overloaded recently, so if you're not yet signed up to receive reverse 911 calls and can't get on NoCoAlert, go to leta911.org to get signed up.

 

Thanks and stay safe!

 

Marian Kelly

Assistant Chief

Crystal Lakes Volunteer Fire Department

 

 

Cameron Peak Fire Update August 14, 2020

 

Most of you will be aware by now that there is a fire burning approximately 15 miles southwest of Red Feather Lakes.  It started yesterday afternoon in the Chambers Lake area and has been named the Cameron Peak fire.

 

As of this morning, it was at about 2000 acres and current weather conditions are likely to push significant growth today.  Currently, the US Forest Service is in command of the fire, with resources coming from a number of nearby fire districts to assist.  They have a Type 3 team managing the fire now with a Type 2 team coming in this afternoon.

 

You can keep up to date on what the fire is doing by checking Inciweb, here: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6964/  

 

If you're not already signed up to receive reverse 911 calls to your cellphone, please do so right away at https://nocoalert.org/   If you've already signed up through leta911.org, then you're fine -- the NoCoAlert site leads to the same signup but makes more information available, including the ability to look at recent alerts and check maps of evacuation areas.

 

Please be alert and aware of what's going on around you.  Depending on fire growth and weather conditions, we may end up needing to evacuate Crystal Lakes.  If the sirens go off, LEAVE IMMEDIATELY.  If you get a reverse 911 call to evacuate, LEAVE IMMEDIATELY.  If you're in Crystal Lakes right now and have somewhere else you can go, it would be safer for you to leave now, rather than wait until the roads are busy.  If you are not in Crystal Lakes right now, please do not come up.  In the event of an evacuation, the fewer people who need to get out, the safer everyone is.

 

We'll try to keep you informed about the growth of the fire when we receive daily updates, but our ability to continue to update you will be limited or non-existent if we get pulled into fighting the fire or running an evacuation, so use Inciweb and NoCoAlerts to stay informed.

 

Thanks and stay safe!

 

Marian Kelly

Assistant Chief

Crystal Lakes Volunteer Fire Department

IN AN EMERGENCY

CALL 9-1-1 FOR ASSISTANCE

Warning Sirens

For the safety of the community, Crystal Lakes Associations has evacuations sirens posted throughout the Association. The evacuation siren in case of failure of the dam is located near the Wapiti Mailsheds to cover the floodplain area and sounds like this (whoop sound) -- property owners in the floodplain should evacuate immediately if they hear this siren; all other property owners should remain on their lots, to keep the roads clear for those evacuating the floodplain. Sirens in ALL parts of the association will sound the fire evacuation siren if a wildfire threatens the community -- it sounds like this (alert sound) -- ALL property owners should evacuate IMMEDIATELY if they hear this siren. Emergency personnel will be on hand to help direct evacuating property owners out of the area.

Where to Find Us:

Crystal Lakes Fire Protection District (CLFPD)

237 Blackfoot Road

Red Feather Lakes, CO 80545

970-881-3521 (Phone)

970-881-2085 (Fax)

clvfd@clvfd.org

 

Crystal Lakes Volunteer Fire Department (CLVPD)

237 Blackfoot Road

Red Feather Lakes, CO 80545

970-881-3521 (Phone)

970-881-2085 (Fax)

clvfd@clvfd.org

 

Click here for a map.

How to Contact Us

For more information, feel free to contact us by telephone, email, or by using our contact form. We look forward to hearing from you!

CL FIRES

CL FIRES is dedicated to education, planning, and support in the areas of fire prevention and safety, wildland fire mitigation, and personal safety in the greater Crystal Lakes Community of Larimer County, Colorado.

 

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