Winds and dry weather expected for the Cameron Peak fire Monday afternoon

Lighter winds and higher humidity on Sunday helped firefighters battling the Cameron Peak fire, but dry weather and stronger winds are expected on Monday afternoon.

“We had good success due to the weather,” said Paul Delmerico, operations section chief of the Cameron Peak fire, at a Monday morning briefing.

On Sunday firefighters concentrated on battling a spot fire on the eastside of the fire, Delmerico said. Fire crews worked overnight and fire officials expect to have the 2,400-acre spot fire, an isolated pocket that jumped out in front of the main fire near Buckskin Heights, contained by the end of the day on Monday.

Cloud cover and smoke on Sunday did limit the use of aircraft on the fire, although helicopters were used for a three-hour span in the afternoon. Firefighters expect favorable weather conditions to give way to less favorable conditions during the course of the day Monday.

“The fuels drying process will begin today and by this afternoon the combination of sunny skies, high winds and low humidity will dry out fuels and increase fire activity and smoke,” according to Monday morning update.

Gusty winds and continued dry conditions will result in high fire danger across Colorado through the evening hours where many areas will experience wind gusts over 30 mph,” according to the National Weather Service. “Expect another breezy night across the higher Front Range foothills with wind gusts to 50 mph possible.”

Firefighters are also concentrating on the southeastern line of the fire, along the huge expanse that made a long, hard run on Wednesday last week.

“Fire officials are scouting for opportunities to create a fire line from The Retreat to Storm Mountain” to protect structures and property in the area.

Firefighters are also planning to set up containment lines in the area and stop the fire from spreading south into Drake and Glen Haven, Delmerico said.

Plans call for keeping the fire south of Buckhorn Road and west of County Road 27, according to the update, and bull dozers are being used in the effort.

“Engines and firefighters continue to provide structure protection by removing fuels and constructing line,” the update said.

The Cameron Peak fire, the largest wildfire in Colorado history, is 203,604 acres, or 318-square-miles, according to InciWeb. The fire is 62% contained and more than 1,400 firefighters are battling the wildfire burning in Larimer County.

Moderate air quality, caused by smoke from the fire, is expected in Estes Park, Longmont and Boulder, according to the Colorado Department of Health and Environment. Sensitive people, including those with respiratory issues, should limit prolonged or heavy exertion. People should stay indoors if smoke is clouding their area.

At the Monday morning briefing Delmerico described the fire as “dynamic” and “complex.”

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