At a mid-day media briefing Monday, Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith said that the High Park Fire may have claimed as many as 100 structures. He was particularly concerned about homes in the Stratton Park area, close to where the fire was first reported on Saturday morning.
A news release from the Sheriff’s Department confirmed that homes have been damaged or destroyed in parts of Rist Canyon, Stove Prairie, Old Flowers Road and Paradise Roads.
“There are many unburned areas within the perimeter of the fire, so residents should not assume their homes are damaged or destroyed,” the release cautioned.
An assessment and recovery team will be working to identify specific addresses of damaged or destroyed properties, according to Sheriff’s spokesman John Schulz.
Earlier this morning, owners of the Mishawaka Amphitheatre in Poudre Canyon posted to Facebook that the nearly century-old venue was not on the list of damaged or destroyed structures.
Management of the fire has been upgraded to Type 1. Incident Commander Bill Hahnenberg said the primary focus of efforts today will be on the south flank of the fire in the area of Lory State Park, where residences are concentrated, but he held out little hope of containment by the end of the day. The fire is estimated to be moving at 20 to 40 feet per minute in some areas.
Helicopters dropping water on flames above Horsetooth Reservoir are visible from LaPorte. Five heavy air tankers – out of the nine that exist in the nation – are supporting the 400 firefighters on the ground, which includes several Hotshot teams, with more on the way.
The State Emergency Operations Center was activated this morning, making additional resources available, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved an assistance grant that means the federal government will pick up 75 percent of the actual costs of fighting the High Park Fire. Eligible firefighting costs may include expenses for field camps; equipment use, repair and replacement; tools, materials and supplies; and mobilization and demobilization activities. There is no cost estimate yet.
While the evacuation center has been moved to The Ranch in Loveland, Principal Skip Caddoo at Cache La Poudre Middle School and Poudre Mountain Schools Principal Patrick Kind have set up a mini-food bank in the school’s cafeteria for any evacuees in need. They are distributing donations brought to the school by members of the public wanting to help their neighbors in need, Cadoo said.
Agencies say they need cash more than stuff at this point. Anyone who wants to help should call the United Way of Larimer County at 2-1-1, the Red Cross at redcross.org or the Larimer Humane Society at larimerhumane.org.
More information about the High Park Fire is available at the Larimer County Emergency Information line at 970-498-5500 where Information Officers are answering the phone, and at www.larimer.org or on Twitter @larimersheriff, or Inciweb at www.inciweb.org/incident/2904/.