(On June 11 we posted an update on the High Park fire, which you can see HERE.)
The High Park fire northwest of Fort Collins, Colorado was very active Saturday night and early Sunday morning. Judging from the heat data collected by satellites as shown in the map above, it moved north across Highway 14 and hit the Hewlett fire that burned north of the highway in mid-May. The heat data indicates that it spread east to within approximately a mile of N CO Rd 25E and approximately a mile from the intersection of highways 14 and 287, but these are very crude estimates. And another estimate — the fire appears to us to be more than 20,000 acres if the satellite heat data is accurate. All of this needs to be confirmed by better data than we are getting from a satellite.
A more detailed version of the map of the High Park fire can be downloaded HERE.
To say the fire exhibited extreme fire behavior overnight would not be giving the fire enough credit. Several very experienced firefighters have said the fire’s spread and behavior Saturday night and early Sunday were incredible. Typically a fire will lay down at night, moving much more slowly, but as a cold front passed through the area during the night the winds increased and shifted 45 degrees in direction, WSW to WNW. When the fire was mapped at 10:30 p.m. Saturday night by an infrared aircraft it was 7,400 acres. The MODIS satellite data shown in the map above captured the location of the heat at 3:20 a.m., and unless it was registering the heat in the smoke plume in addition to heat on the ground (which has happened in the past with infrared equipment on fixed wing aircraft when a fire was exhibiting extreme fire behavior), the fire more than doubled in size during that 5-hour period and ran approximately 6 miles. It will be very interesting to see a new fire perimeter after aircraft map it today with GPS equipment.
The local fire and law enforcement personnel are doing a good job of providing information to the public about the fire and evacuations:
- Larimer County Sheriff’s Office (and their Twitter feed)
- Larimer County (and their Twitter feed)
The video below is from Saturday, but it has rare footage of a CV-580 air tanker making a drop in the lower 48 states.