The Cameron Peak fire west of Fort Collins has almost tripled in size over the last three days, but a cold front with snow and rain Tuesday is halting its rapid growth for now.
"This is a complete turnaround from the last couple of days, now we have some rain and snow up in the fire," said Paul Bruggink with the U.S. Forest Service. "It's laying the fire activity down pretty good for today."
The weather is expected to slow fire growth Tuesday and Wednesday, Bruggink said, giving fire teams a chance to assess the damage of the fast fire runs over the last couple days. They also plan to use this time to use infrared technology to find hotspots. Bruggink said this information will help firefighters focus their efforts.
"It gives everyone a little breathing room, recharge your batteries a little bit, and then we'll see what the next few days bring," Bruggink said.
But, he said, the snow is covering more combustible fuels like dry timber and beetle kill spruce and fir trees. Once the sun comes out and the snow melts, there is still potential for extreme fire activity.
The fire is still only 4 percent contained and has burned 102,596 acres of land.
Rocky Mountain National Park has closed Trail Ridge Road. The Larimer County Sheriff's Office has issued voluntary evacuation orders for Glen Haven Retreat, the town of Glen Haven, Storm Mountain, Crystal Lakes, Red Feather Lakes, Lady Moon, Red Feather Highlands, the Shambhala Center, and Glacier View buildings.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.