(Update, Tuesday, Mar. 19, 10 pm MDT: Denver Channel 7 reports the fire is 95% contained tonight.)
(Update, Monday, Mar. 18, 8 pm MDT: The fire is reported to be 85% contained.)
(Update, Monday, Mar. 18, 1 pm MDT: Mapping overnight shows the fire has burned 1,348 acres. Wind today is very gusty, predicted to be 40-60 mph this evening, with a slight chance of showers. Currently it’s sunny and very dry.)
They’re calling it the Galena Fire. It’s the one now burning west of Fort Collins, Colo., along the west side of Horsetooth Reservoir.
If the names sound familiar, it’s because this fire is less than a quarter mile from where last year’s huge High Park Fire scorched more than 87,000 acres and destroyed 181 homes. This one was accidentally human-caused, but there have been no further details.
The Galena Fire was estimated at about 1,000 acres last night, and was 45% contained. The hoped-for rain yesterday never developed, and gusty winds (up to 60 mph according to some sources) are predicted for today. At last report, no homes have been lost. Much of the fire has burned in “light flashy” grassland, not forest. Grasslands burn very quickly but are more easily extinguished than forested areas.
The worrisome thing is that it’s too early for fire season to have begun — not that fire and drought have been respecters of “seasons” in recent years. Many western firefighting resources are still in their stepped-down, winter mode. Only one helicopter was working the fire yesterday, with a second one expected today. Promising, if the wind doesn’t ground them both.
Colorado is now looking for ways to establish its own fleet of tankers since the number available from the federal government has decreased dramatically in recent years. The government had only 9 air tankers in service in 2012, down from 44 in 2002.
(Photo: Travis Swan)
- Galena Fire: 750-1,000 acres burned, cause accidental (kdvr.com)
- UPDATE: Human-caused Galena Fire burns 750 to 1,000 acres (collegian.com)
- Colorado wildfire threatening ‘numerous homes’ – San Francisco Chronicle (sfgate.com)
- Calm Weather Helps Crews Battling Galena Fire In Larimer County (denver.cbslocal.com)
- Colorado: First major wildfire erupts near Fort Collins (summitcountyvoice.com)
- Colo. fire burns in erratic winds, threatens homes (cnsnews.com)
- Wind-driven wildfires burning west and northwest of Fort Collins (northfortynews.com)
- Calm weather helps crews battling fire in N. Colo. (krdo.com)