High Park Fire, 4

posted in: Current Affairs, Serendipity | 3

These photos are from Wednesday. Yesterday (Thursday) I flew to Alberta, and today (Friday) I started teaching at Olds College Fibre Week.

But on Wednesday I got to take a bike ride for the first time since the High Park Fire started. The air was clear enough, and it wasn't 100°F (38°C). Still there was a lot of diffuse smoke and a huge, billowing plume.

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When I went into the garage to get the bike, I noticed this new deposit on the floor.

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That's ash. The garage door has been closed; there are no windows, and while the garage isn't insulated or anything fancy like that, the seals on the door are pretty good. We are well outside all evacuation areas.

When I got to the store, I found this sign for local firewood, from Laporte, Colorado. Struck me a bit odd, since Laporte is . . . way too warm these days, due to the fire. Laporte's Cache La Poudre Middle School is the evacuation center for residents in the nearby canyons and Livermore, except when there's too much smoke and they relocate the evacuation center farther east.

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Meanwhile, our guests are faring well. Lady comes up to the step to visit.

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Bear stays down in the yard, patrolling the perimeter.

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Fire developments: why Red Flag Warnings are announced

While here in Canada, I'm following the fire closely, as you might imagine. The latest reports, arriving Friday evening as I write this post, indicate 992 new emergency evacuations today, a bunch of them in the past two hours.

There has been a Red Flag Warning in effect from noon today through tomorrow evening. Reasons, quoting from the Inciweb report for today: "Throughout the morning winds will gradually increase, becoming 15-25 mph gusting to 35. Temperatures will be 85 to 90 degrees with relative humidity of 10 to 15 percent. Fire activity is expected to increase in the afternoon as the Red Flag Warning goes into effect." This means that wind, temperature, and humidity conditions will promote further spread of the fire.

That report was later updated to this: "Shifting winds this afternoon caused the fire to spot across Poudre Canyon near Sheep Mountain. The spot established in the steep, rugged terrain and is burning at a rapid rate of spread. Air resources are available and will be utilized when and where smoke and weather allow." Heavy smoke makes locating and fighting spot fires difficult.

From the Larimer County Emergency Information Update released this morning:

"The Rist Canyon, Glacier View and Poudre Canyon Volunteer Fire Departments are looking for donations to help defray the costs of firefighters assigned to the High Park Fire. To make a donation, please visit their websites at:

"Firefighters have put in nearly 250,000 hours of work on this fire (this translates into almost 18 years worth of hours), with only one reported injury." (From earlier reports: "At approximately 5:30 a.m. on Monday, June 18, 2012, a person assigned to the fire was involved in a non – life threatening injury. They were transported by ambulance to the hospital for treatment. The accident was not fire line related."

Hoping for far better news tomorrow.

And glad that friends have found refuge outside the danger area.

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3 Responses

  1. Glad you are safe. Wish everyone were. We live in CA mountains and totally get it. I appreciate your updates.

  2. Thanks. Sometimes I wonder if it's too much, but I'm definitely living it, even from a distance. It was hard to leave, except that I know our area should be fine and there are responsible people on site to take care of what needs to be done.

  3. 16 minutes ago from Inciweb:
    “The incident commander reported that an estimated 2,000 additional acres burned on the High Park Fire today. Under red flag warnings, with recorded 84-degree temperatures at Red Mountain, gusts over 30 mph and relative humidity around 5 percent, the fire crossed the Narrows, establishing itself on the north side of Poudre Canyon. Hot shot crews were attempting a direct attack, but due to the intensity and rapid spread of the fire both the hot shot crews and engines involved in structure protection in Glacier View had to pull back for safety reasons.”

    And from Larimer County Emergency Updates, among other information: “The burn area is located within a watershed that supplies several municipalities. Potential long term impacts from the fire include evacuations, security needs, air quality, and recreation use.”

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