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Fire Crews Take Advantage Of Cooler Weather, More Evacuations Lifted

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This image was captured on June 18, 2012, inside the lines of the High Park Fire. (credit: Colorado National Guard)

This image was captured on June 18, 2012, inside the lines of the High Park Fire. (credit: Colorado National Guard)

GALLERIES: COLORADO'S WORST WILDFIRES

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – Fire crews took advantage of the cooler weather and higher humidity on Wednesday and Thursday in the fight against the High Park Fire burning west of Fort Collins.

The fire has burned 65,738 acres with 55 percent containment. More than 1,900 fire personnel are battling the blaze.

“Airplanes have been flying, helicopters have also been flying in the air all day supporting crews with bucket drops, water drops in key areas of the fire along the northwest side as well as into the interior islands of the fire,” public information officer Brett Haberstick said. “Things have gone very well, Mother Nature has allowed us this window and we have responded very aggressively and we’re pleased with what we’re seeing.”

The fire has destroyed 189 homes and has cost more than $9 million to fight so far. The fire started on June 9 and was caused by lightning.

More evacuations were lifted Wednesday morning. Fire officials issued an all-clear for Soldier Canyon and Mill Canyon Estates effective at 10 a.m. Residents will need to show identification to gain access to the area.

Fire officials issued an all-clear at noon for the area in Glacier View that is south and east of McNay Hill, south of County Road 74E, which includes Hewlett Gulch Road, Deer Meadow Way, Gordon Creek Lane and connecting roadways in that area. Residents returning home are being asked that between the hours of 4 p.m. and 5 p.m., when fire crews are changing shifts, that residents stay off the roadways to allow the shift change to be completed.

RELATED LINK: High Park Fire 4 p.m. Wednesday Update

All residents are asked to remain on alert. If fire conditions worsen, this area may be required to evacuate again. Power has been restored to this area.

Fire crews will try to make as much progress as they can in the next two days before the weather heats up again.

The increased acreage is on the northwest side of the fire. Most of that is due to back burns to reduce the intensity of the fire as it approaches the Glacier View subdivision.

A spot fire in the northwest corner of the fire over Poudre Canyon Road/Highway 14 triggered a pre-Evacuation for the Rustic area. Fire officials have issued a new pre-evacuation order for the area of Highway 14 from the Pingree Park Road west to approximately mile marker 90, just west of the Glen Echo Resort.

Residents in this area need to be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice. This includes a road called Rustic Road, which runs south off of Hwy 14, just west of Glen Echo. Residents in this area need to evacuate west on Hwy 14 to Walden if a mandatory evacuation becomes necessary.

Boat-in campsites are open at Horsetooth Reservoir. No campfires are allowed. All areas of Satanka Cove, at the north end of Horsetooth Reservoir, remain closed to access by both land and water. Boating on the north end of the reservoir will be restricted indefinitely in support of helicopter use for the High Park fire. Buoys will be in place noting restricted areas on the water.

Horsetooth Mountain Open Space, including Horsetooth Mountain Open Space Trailhead and Soderberg Trailhead are temporarily closed indefinitely.

Eagle’s Nest Open Space is open to the public.

Effective June 20, County Road 23 (Centennial Drive), on the east side of Horsetooth Reservoir, is open. Sunrise Swim Beach and other day use areas on the east side of Horsetooth Reservoir are also open.

The Colorado National Guard released video of firefighters battling the blaze inside the fire lines.

PHOTO GALLERY: High Park: Inside The Fire Lines

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