UPDATE at 1:39 p.m. MT, March 18, 2013: Updated information, including an accurate map, can be found HERE.
UPDATE at 3:30 p.m. MT, March 16, 2013:
Evacuations lifted — Larimer County officials distributed this information within the last hour:
All evacuations for the Galena fire will be lifted tonight at 8:00 p.m. Residents in the affected area will be allowed to return home at that time. No credentials will be needed. Those residents will remain on pre-evacuation status and should be prepared to leave if necessary.
UPDATE at 11:50 a.m. MT, March 16, 2013:
The Galena fire west of Fort Collins, Colorado, now managed by a Type 3 incident management team, was fairly quiet overnight and did not have any significant movement. Larimer County authorities are estimating the size at 750 to 1,000 acres but have not accurately mapped the perimeter. The fire is partially confined by last summer’s 87,000-acre High Park Fire on the west and north sides and Horsetooth Reservoir on the east, but there is still potential for fire movement on the south side. (map of High Park fire)
Mandatory evacuation notifications were sent yesterday for the area west of Horsetooth Reservoir and those evacuations remain in effect today. As of last night all residents of the Soldier Canyon Estates area were allowed back into their homes.
The weather forecast for the area predicts a 30 percent chance of precipitation on Saturday. As this is written, radar is detecting scattered showers east, west, and south of the fire. The relative humidity should bottom out in the mid-thirties today and the winds should be 5-10 mph gusting to 20 late in the afternoon. Sunday is a different story, however, with a forecast for 10-26 mph winds gusting to 40 with a 24 percent relative humidity.
Resources assigned to the fire today include one Type 2 helicopter, four hand crews, and an assortment of engines.
Originally posted at 11 p.m. MT, March 15, 2013
The Galena Fire west of Fort Collins, Colorado forced some residents to evacuate as the fire burned near Horsetooth Reservoir and Charles A. Lory State Park on Friday. At 4:30 p.m. Larimer County officials estimated the fire had burned about 800 acres.
As of 8:40 p.m. the spread of the fire had slowed. Hand crews were actively working the north side of the fire and parts of the west flank. Engines were assigned to the south side near Inlet Bay.
Firefighters requested air tankers and helicopters but none were available except for one small helicopter, according to The Coloradoan, but strong winds on Friday may have made it difficult to operate any aircraft over the fire. The relative humidity in the area has been extremely low, with the maximum humidity early Friday morning only reaching up to 22 percent. Friday afternoon it got as low as 15 percent while the winds gusted in the mid-twenties.
Saturday’s weather will be more in favor of the firefighters, with a minimum relative humidity of 41 percent, moderate winds of three to seven mph, and a 30 percent chance of light rain.
Friday afternoon firefighters contained a second smaller fire near Eddy Lane in the community of LaPorte.
The map below shows the approximate location of the Galena fire west of Horsetooth Reservoir, and the smaller fire near LaPorte, north and west of Fort Collins. The red areas represent heat detected by a satellite.