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Colorado wildfires are unpredictable

Waldo Canyon Fire, The fire is approximately 18,500 acres in size with 5% containment. The projected containment date is Monday July 16th, 2012 approx. 12:00 AM. Fire activity increased along the entire perimeter due to Red Flag Conditions, wind shifts and Haines Index of 6 (very high).

Waldo Canyon Fire, The fire is approximately 18,500 acres in size with 5% containment. The projected containment date is Monday July 16th, 2012 approx. 12:00 AM. Fire activity increased along the entire perimeter due to Red Flag Conditions, wind shifts and Haines Index of 6 (very high). Fire has reached the south side of Rampart Recreation Area and reservior with a burnout being conducted to protect infrastructure. Indirect line location opportunities are being assessed north of Lucky 4 Road. Incident has expanded to include Division D and X based on northwest growth of fire perimeter. An evacuation has been issued by the City of Colorado Springs for Mt Springs, Peregrine and Westwood.

At approximately 4 pm the fire progressed west to east in Division Y crossing Queens Canyon and established itself on the east aspect of the Front Range. The evacuation order for Crystal Park subdivision has been lifted and residents were allowed to return. Firefighters continue to Improve pipeline easement contingency line south of Woodland Park going east from Hwy 24 and tying into Rampart Recreation Area. Continue to hold Rampart Ridge Road to prevent fire from moving northeast and east. Continue point protection in Cedar Heights and continue structure protection along the west side of Colorado Springs. Weather will again play an important part in firefighting today. The forecast call for afternoon thunder showers with temperatures potentially in the triple digits. Winds continue to be variable in the fire zone. The military has made helicopters available for use on the fire today on an as needed basis. A portable retardant plant is being set up at the Air Force Academy to shorten turnaround time and increase efficiency.

Evacuations and Closures

Currently on mandatory evacuation:

Cascade, Chipita Park, Green Mountain Falls, Crystola

City of Colorado Springs

All areas north of Garden of the Gods Rd. between I-25 to the east all the way to the western City limits and north to the Air Force Academy.

Air Force Academy

Evacuated areas include all housing areas on the base except the airfield.

Teller County

Refer to www.co.teller.co.us

US 24

Closed between Cave of the Winds and El Paso/Teller County line.

Pike National Forest

Order 12-08 closes the Pike National Forest in the area of the Waldo Canyon Fire as shown on map of order.

Currently on Voluntary Evacuation

Crystal Park, Manitou Springs

Family and friends can check status there and also by phone at (719) 785-2724.

Flagstaff Fire, Residents were quick to show their appreciation for the firefighters efforts to protect the Boulder community. Karen Jones and her daughter, Slipper,who live in the danger zone showed firefighters their appreciation by handing out homemade cookies at the intersection of Cragmoor Road and View Point Drive in Boulder on Wednesday afternoon.It is little things like homemade cookies that let the firefighters know that people are glad they are there.

A federal Type 1 incident command took over the lead early Thursday morning on fighting the Flagstaff Fire, which is about 300 acres in size and 30% contained. Fire Officials said the goal is have 100% containment by Saturday. The fire is burning 1.5 miles outside the city limits on the west side of Boulder and is still a threat to the city of Boulder, according to Incident Commander Rocky Opliger. There are 200 firefighters fighting the Flagstaff Fire. Two air tankers and two helicopters are providing air support.

Evacuations

Families in 28 homes that were evacuated on Tuesday on Flagstaff and Bison drives remain evacuated.

An evacuation center is located at East Boulder Community Center, 5660 Sioux Drive.

The Emergency Operations Center has activated a call center for residents and others impacted by the fire to obtain information. The phone number is 303-413-7730.

High Park Fire, The High Park Fire near Fort Collins is now 75 percent contained and could be fully contained this weekend, officials said. The High Park Fire has burned 87,284 acres and destroyed 257 homes. The number of homes could increase after additional assessments are completed. The containment date was moved from July 30 to July 15 then July 1. The cost of fighting the fire so far is $33.5 million. Crews patrolled the fire throughout the night. The work focus has shifted to rehabilitation, removing negative effects of suppression efforts. Crews are smoothing dozer lines around Glacier View, for example. Incident meteorologist Mike Chamberlain said, the spatters of rain dampened the ash and soil enough to make mop-up easier Thursday. Some roads were muddy overnight. Today should be warmer and drier with morning sun and a chance of afternoon lightning, with WSW winds. Coordination continues with local authorities to facilitate assessment and re-entry into previously evacuated subdivisions. Acres by ownership: Private: 39,570/State: 5,022/U.S. Forest Service: 42,634/Bureau of Land Management: 28/Bureau of Reclamation: 30. Threat to residences is decreasing due to increase in containment.

FIRE RESOURCES

2 Type 1 Helicopters; 1 Type 2 Helicopters; 2 Type 3 Helicopters

Heavy Air Tankers (available if needed)

103 Engines

6 Type 1 Hand Crews

11 Type 2 Hand Crews

18 Water Tenders

11 Dozers

2 Feller Bunchers (staged and available)

EVACUATION INFORMATION

Shorline Drive is also under a pre-evacuation. All residents previously evacuated are also still on a pre-evacuation alert.

Evacuation orders remain in place for the following areas:

- Glacier View Filing 12.

-Pingree Park Road, Hourglass and Comanche reservoirs, east on Buckhorn Road up to and including Pennock Pass, NE to junction with Stove Prairie and Hwy 14; West to junction with Highway 15 and Pingree Park Road

-County Road 44H (Buckhorn Road) from County Road 27 to Pennock Pass and residents to the south approximately 3/4 - 1 mile.

-Buckhorn Road up to the Stove Prairie School.

-Poudre Canyon from Mishawaka to Eggers.

-The area between County Road 27E and Stove Prairie Road and south through the entire Rist Canyon area including Davis Ranch Road and Whale Rock Road.

-South from County Road 44H 3 miles to just north of Stringtown Gulch Road, Paradise Park Road, Moose Horn Lane, Magic Lane and Spencer Mountain Road.

-Old Flowers Road from Stove Prairie Road to the 8000-block of Old Flowers Road.

-County Road 27 to Highway 14, east along Highway 14 to approximately mile marker 111, southeast to Rist Canyon Fire Station 1, then back west to to include Wilderness Ridge Way, Rist Creek Road, Spring Valley Road and County Road 41 and all of the roads that run off it.

Little Sand Fire, There were two new fires detected south of the Piedra River, that started from last night's lightning. As the afternoon has warmed up, one has become visible about 1/10th of a mile from Monument Horse Camp. Unaweep Wildland Fire Module (a smaller crew) and a local Pagosa Engine have responded. It was reported to be a single log on fire. Activity reported out of Durango is a number of new starts as a result of the same lightning storm, which will likely be found as they begin to smoke in the afternoon heat. There are plenty of resources available to deal with them. The Little Sand Fire has burned 22,010 acres with 31% containment. The fire is burning 13 miles northwest of Pagosa Springs in rugged and inaccessible terrain just north of the Piedra River. Approximately 220 personnel are fighting the fire. The fire is in rugged and inaccessible terrain, north of the Piedra River. Cause of this fire was lightning. The fire started Sunday May 13th, 2012 approx. 04:00 PM. Crews will continue patrol of southern portion of the fire adjacent to the Piedra River. They will use bucket drops and hand crews, as needed, to contain spot fires. There are very few closures due to fire activity. Pagosa Springs and most Forest Service & private campgrounds are open for business. Smoke will continue to be a problem in low lying areas in the early morning hours. Communities around the fire area in Archuleta, La Plata, Hinsdale, Mineral, Rio Grande and Conejos counties will experience potentially heavy smoke when the fire is active and wind is blowing their direction.

New Treasure Fire, The fire is roughly 10 miles southwest of Quandary Peak, some 6 miles northwest of Leadville and proximate to Climax Mine and the crest of Fremont Pass. It burns in Birdseye Gulch on the western side of Mosquito Peak. Reported at 320 acres and growing, 10% containment with 125 firefighters assigned to the fire. The fire is listed as a Type 4 incident, placing it lower on the priority list for resources. 4 full-size and one 10-person hand crews are working at the fire. Two of the four crews have arrived within the last 48 hours. Also assigned are one helicopter and various supervisory and support staff. One additional hand crew is on order.No structures are currently threatened. The Treasure fire is not threatening lives or structures at this time.

People working on the fire:

Incident Commander Chris Naccarato

Americorps 10-person crew from Lake George Colorado

Greyback, contract crew from Montana

Juniper Valley, Department of Corrections crew from Buena Vista, Colorado

Maryland One crew, most of whom are employees of the State of Maryland

MidPlains, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service from Kansas

Pacific Oasis, a contract crew from Oregon

One medium-life helicopter staffed by the Gallatin Helirappel crew

Supervisory and support staff

CR-102 Fire, No change, Crews are still working hot spots and are calling the fire 95% contained. Weather remains a factor as the work fire in and near the canyon area. Evacuations are still lifted and no immediate concerns are held for the Town of Elbert and surrounding areas. Elbert County is requesting that the community remain on Fire Watch and report wildfires and careless activity that could result in a fire.

State Line Fire, No Changes, the fire has burned 350 acres including some buildings along U.S. Highway 550. The blaze is about 50% contained. Battling the blaze Monday were 140 fire personnel, 10 engines and a helicopter doing water drops. Cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Weber Fire, Burnout operations by firefighters have proven to be successful in efforts to contain the 9,168 acre Weber Fire with containment holding at 30%. Difficult and treacherous terrain on both the northern and southern ends of the fire has not allowed firefighters to construct hand lines directly on the fire perimeter. Fire managers often use a tactical approach of putting in-direct fire line then burning out the unburned fuels between the fire perimeter and the constructed fire line. This technique is used when an area within the fire perimeter is not safe for firefighters to work in. Structure protection around residences and communication towers is still in place. Firefighting efforts continue to be aided by air resources, including two Type 1 and two Type 3 helicopters. Mop-up operations continue along the western flank of the fire.

Firefighters are using this technique to extinguish hotspots along the containment lines. The incident is running two operational periods. Day: Continue point protection around structures. Strengthen control lines. Burn out constructed line when conditions are favorable, and continue protection of communication sites. Assist with local initial attack. Evacuees will be allowed to return to their homes, with Law Enforcement escort, for short periods. Reopen County Road 41 south of Mancos, CO. Night: Burn out line on southern perimeter when conditions are favorable. Construct, improve and mop-up constructed line. Continue protection of structures and communication sites.

Overall Wednesday proved to be a good day for the Colorado wildfires. Progress was made and containment grew while projected containment dates were reduced in some fires by weeks.