A fire in Northern Colorado has caused hundreds of families to evacuate homes and is responsible for at least one death. Officials are not optimistic about the immediate future, saying it could take weeks to control the fire and months to extinguish it.
At the time of this writing, the High Park Fire had consumed nearly 47,000 acres, 73 square miles and more than 100 structures. Hundreds of families have evacuated their homes, and hundreds more are on notice that they may need to do the same. The U.S. Forest Service says the fire is 10 percent contained, despite the 1,200 firefighters trying to contain the fire both on the ground and in the air.
The fire has claimed one life: Linda Steadman, 62, died in her cabin in the Roosevelt National Forest. Hers was the state’s fourth wildfire death this year.
Officials have said that the fire started with a lightning strike. Many worried that this day would come after a five-year long infestation of pine beetles. The bugs feed on trees, leaving them dry and fire-friendly. Brittle bark and plenty of pine needles provided fuel for the fire.
The fire started on Saturday, June 9. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper declared a state of emergency on Tuesday, June 12, pouring $20 million into the containment effort and calling in the Colorado National Guard.
The fire spilled into New Mexico, becoming that state’s largest wildfire on record. Smoke from the fire drifted across state lines into Wyoming, bringing a pungent odor and darkened skies to Cheyenne.
For information about evacuations, visit the Larimer County Sheriff’s website.
While this fire started with natural causes, many Colorado wildfires begin with unmonitored grills or controlled burns that grow out of control. If you have suffered burn injuries from a fire-related incident, contact us today for a free consultation.
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