Smoke From Fire Burning In Larimer County Blankets Front Range

Cameron Peak fire smoke spreads across Colorado
Courtesy of Incident Information System
Smoke from the Cameron Peak fire burning in Larimer County is spreading for miles on Sunday during a day of increased fire activity. Several towns in Larimer County are seeing ash falling from the sky and air quality alerts are in effect along the Front Range.

Update Sept. 8, 2020 @ 7:58 a.m.: Between Sunday and Tuesday morning the Cameron Fire went on a run and exploded in size. The fire is now 102,596 acres according to the morning update at Inciweb. This earlier story continues below.

The Cameron Peak Fire in Larimer County continues to intensify Sunday forcing additional evacuations.

Fire officials upgraded the voluntary evacuation into a mandatory one for the Buckhorn Road -- County Road 44H -- from Pennock Pass to Country Road 27 because of increased fire activity. The fire has grown about 10,000 acres to 34,289 and it’s 5 percent contained as of Sunday afternoon.

The upgraded evacuation orders come after there was already a mandatory evacuation in place for Pingree Park road and Highway 14 from the Fish Hatchery east to Kelly Flats. Voluntary evacuations are still in place for Crystal Lakes, Red Feather Lakes and Goodall Corner communities. 

Cache La Poudre Middle School in LaPorte is open as a shelter.

The fire’s flare up is generating unhealthy air quality conditions. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issued an action day alert Sunday for the Front Range urban corridor from Douglas County north to Larimer and Weld counties. This includes Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins and Greeley. It will remain in effect till at least Monday afternoon. 

Russell Danielson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Boulder, said lots of smoke is going toward the south east into Longmont and the north side of metro Denver. In some areas, there is falling ash and visibility is down to 3 miles. 

Danielson also said there may be some relief coming because of a cold front coming Monday evening into Tuesday. It will drop temperatures around the fire into the 20s on Monday and will continue to decrease Tuesday into the teens. 

“We’re expecting 6 to 12 inches of snow,” Danielson said about the fire area. “That’ll be very good. That should help reduce the smoke and reduce the fire growth.”