Cameron Peak fire update: New evacuations ordered for Red Feather, Crystal Lakes

The Red Feather and Crystal Lakes communities were ordered to evacuate Sunday afternoon because the Cameron Peak fire presented an “immediate and imminent danger” to anyone in the area, according to the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office.

Residents and anyone else in the area — including along the Manhattan Road to Colorado 14 as well as the Shambhala Mountain Center — were told to leave as quickly as possible around 3:30 p.m., without stopping to gather belongings or take measures to protect their homes or businesses, according to the sheriff’s office.

Those who need help after evacuating can go to Cache La Poudre Middle School at 3515 West County Road 54G, the sheriff’s office said.

The evacuation was prompted when a northern spur of the fire, nicknamed the “thumb” of the fire, jumped a fireline Sunday amid windy conditions throughout the area and began moving to the east. Firefighters knew going into Sunday that the wind would test the established fire lines, and the active fire conditions in the northern spur has been a cause for concern over the past week, particularly because of the rough terrain, public information officer Paul Bruggink said.

During a four-day period in the last week, firefighters dropped 120,000 gallons of water and retardant on that area, he said. But the wind prevailed Sunday, forcing firefighters to pull back for their own safety.

“When you get a big wind behind that, it creates its own weather, and the fire goes from treetop to treetop, goes along the ground, and it also spots over, so all those things came together this afternoon,” he said.

He added that there are already indirect fire lines in place along Deadman and Manhattan roads that were established in case of such a scenario, so the communities still have a measure of protection.

The Cameron Peak fire has burned 102,596 acres, or about 160 square miles, and is 15% contained. It is burning in the Roosevelt National Forest west of Fort Collins.

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