Snow Blankets Cameron Peak And East Troublesome Fires As Crews Regroup

October 26, 2020
A snowy morning at the Cameron Peak incident command post on Monday, Oct. 26.A snowy morning at the Cameron Peak incident command post on Monday, Oct. 26.Inciweb
A snowy morning at the Cameron Peak incident command post on Monday, Oct. 26.

The northern mountain areas burning in the Cameron Peak and East Troublesome fires got between 1 and 2 feet of snow over the last couple of days, according to fire officials. The Calwood fire north of Boulder got as much as 13 inches of snow.

"It was a much-needed reprieve for the firefighters," said David Wolf, fire chief for the Estes Valley Fire Protection District.

That snow has stopped the growth of the fires but has also severely limited crews' access.

A fire engine driving up Storm Mountain began sliding on icy roads and could not make it to the top on Sunday, according to Wolf.

Cold weather can also cause equipment to break or malfunction.

Crews are taking this time to assess areas of the fire that could prompt more evacuations when fire activity starts to return, which could happen in a few days.

"It seems like the snow is going to do some really good things for us in the light fuels like grass and meadows, but up in the timber, we're concerned that the fire will be able to come back to life after a couple of days of warming, possibly as early as late this week," Wolf said.

Fire crews are also using this time to refresh and repair equipment and to transition to a new fire management team from the Pacific Northwest.

Firefighters have made progress over the last 48 hours in containing the Cameron Peak fire in the zone closest to Fort Collins, according to Paul Delmerico with the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team 1.

Crews plan to stage at the incident command posts Monday, ready to mobilize if conditions change. According to officials, some fire personnel will spend the day with damage assessment crews in the areas that have been evacuated.

As of Monday afternoon, the Cameron Peak fire has burned 208,663 acres in Larimer County and is 64 percent contained. The East Troublesome fire has burned 192,560 acres in Grand County and is 15 percent contained. The Calwood fire has burned 10,105 acres in Boulder County and is 76 percent contained.